Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Work: Masterworks Miniatures 2011

This year's batch of miniatures are complete and submitted! Keeping my fingers crossed they are all accepted into the MasterWorks show.

Judging from last year's success and the fact that two of the three pieces I entered sold (both New Mexico themed), I decided to focus on my own travels throughout the state. I take reference pictures wherever I go, sometimes even while I'm driving (very carefully!!!). Usually these get dropped in a folder on my computer and are rarely seen again. I decided to go back through these collections and find some choice references to inspire and guide me for this year's submissions. And while I still left most of the work to the last minute (all pieces were completed this past week), I was able to plan ahead a bit better and ordered my frames a couple weeks ago, so I could drop the finished pieces into their final homes as soon as they were finished.

Massive Sky, Sandias
6.5" x 1.5" On Arches, 140lb. Hotpress
(7.5" x 2.5" framed)
This piece is based on a snapshot I took while driving home from Santa Fe one evening. I couldn't believe it was a real sky, it was just so… massive and dramatic. Sun, storm, and clouds converging over the Sandias in a magical moment. I wanted to do a piece that was a less traditional shape as well. I love long & narrow verticals and horizontals, and this was one of the rare images I had been carrying around in my head since I snapped the photo -- waiting for the right moment to bring it to my drawing table. In the case of miniatures, they say the more "miniature" the better, so I decided not to mat this piece, placing it directly in the frame as if it was an epic grand-scale landscape in oil. My impression of massiveness carried through to the title in the end - I really loved the idea of naming this tiny piece "massive".

Bandelier, No.2
3.75" x 5" On Arches, 140lb. Hotpress
(7.5" x 6.5" framed)
Since I had so much success with the piece I did based on Bandelier National Monument in last year's show, I wanted to do a follow-up piece this year as well. Honestly, this place is just so breath-takingly amazing, I could occupy many years of art-making with this theme. I'll be quite glad to return to it year after year. I've been to the monument twice in the three years I've lived in New Mexico (and taken hundreds of picture upon each visit), I only wish I had time to go more often. I have to admit, somewhere along the line I messed up in my planning and I actually ended up doing this one a little larger than I originally intended (mis-measured somewhere in my process). I had planned to mimic the final presentation from last year's piece, but since the picture ended up larger (and I'd pre-measured and pre-ordered the frame) I ended up having to skip the double mat -- though I didn't realize it until AFTER I had cut and finished the mats with deckled edges and everything!. I'm not sure where the blue theme came from. I guess I originally didn't just want to render exactly what was there, but honor it, and accentuate the otherworldliness of the place, the mystic. I put a little more color variation in this one though, pulling in stronger purples with the exaggerated blues. I'm particularly proud of the teenie tiny ruins in the distance outside the cave (just above the top rung of the ladder).

Catch a Flying Star, DT
4" x 2.5" On Arches, 140lb. Hotpress
(4.875" x 6.25" framed)
This one is a bit different. This was another one of those special photos I kept in my head once I'd snapped the picture. It was just so crazy, colorful, surreal, and beautiful. Flying Star Cafe was one of my first New Mexico dining experiences. I went for the first time back on 2006, when I visited Albuquerque for the first time. A year and a half later, I moved into an apartment two blocks down the street. It has always been a special, comfortable place for me. And while they are extremely protective of their interiors (I believe they've gone so far as to copyright them in some way), this is actually a picture I took out the window, of the intersection of Silver Ave and 8th St. It just happens to be reflecting back a saucer-shaped ceiling, lights, and various other shapes and colors into the sky above outside. It makes for a magnificent alien encounter effect in mysterious New Mexico. *Side note - I totally forgot to sign this piece! Oops.

I have to say, with each year, I get more and more into these tiny paintings. They are just so… precious. Not to mention, I can do them pretty quickly - as compared to a lot of the illustration work I do. I get to just immerse myself in the rendering, instead of having to think about story, narrative or objectives needed (or lack there of) for so many illustration & design pieces.


TaraLarsenChang said...

So are these done entirely in colored pencil? They are fabulous! That sky is especially amazing. Great job!

Wendy Martin - Art said...

Beautiful work! Colored pencil is so hard. Yours look amazing!

Casey G. said...

Melinda you are a master. Gorgeous work, your piece takes my breath away.

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