Land of the Above began with a suggestion from critique. Professors and peers were pushing me to jump more wholeheartedly into the realm of 3D. In short, if you're going to do it, do it right. They said that some of my other pieces felt tentative, and it would be nice to have something more deliberately and obviously in the realm of the third dimension. Here is the process that ensued...
1. Make a Model
2. Realize the Form
3. Begin the Painting Process
And to make matters worse, I had another, more complicated problem: lighting. The shadowbox, "cutout" form in the upper right hand of the panel looks green, right? Only I had painted it blue. It needed to be blue, as this color is essential to my concept. I wanted the viewer to WANT to access this unreachable (both literally and figuratively) bluespace. Which, frankly, doesn't work if it's green. And it's hard to make something appear to be bright when it's quite literally in shadow. And how are you going to light that plane in the gallery?, everyone asked. I had no idea.
4. Problem Solving
- I had to deal with the overhead shadowbox situation. Many ideas were suggested, most of which freaked me out. The scariest involved cutting out the overhead shadowbox altogether (it's made of wood, so this would involve some pretty powerful and precise power tools I did not feel comfortable operating) and replacing it with a sheet of vellum, behind which I could shine a light. Instead, I went with a brilliant suggestion from a classmate, Jen O'Connell. Jen said, "why don't you just paint the shadowbox to look bright?" In other words, overcompensate for the cast shadow by painting the area so bright it ended up looking the way I wanted it to. This is what I ended up doing. If you looked at my palette at the very color I used to paint the overhead shadowbox, it actually looked very different than what you see in the painting. Optical illusions, man.
- As you can see on the leftmost photograph, I added a deep cerulean blue to emphasize the left edge of the staircase and diversify the color palette.