Breastfeeding Art Exhibition – Opening Night Today!
The Art Exhibition runs for the next three days (5th to 7th September) and today I will be hanging my breastfeeding painting in the afternoon prior to the Opening Night at 7.30 this evening. In this blog I will go over how I painted my breastfeeding painting ‘As One’.
I will post photographs of the opening night tomorrow on Facebook but meanwhile I thought you might enjoy a little insight into how I approached my painting…
Breastfeeding Painting, ‘As One’, Step-by-Step
Step 1 – Planning and Drawing
By taking a variety of photographs of different breastfeeding mothers I came up with a piece meal drawing from which I could work. I decided on an acrylic pour constantly thinking of where I was going to place the Mother and Baby’s head. By creating cells and gold colours in both these areas, I wanted to represent their joining together ‘As One’. I also had an idea of merging the breast and baby’s mouth representing the flow from Mother to Baby. Due to the ‘Normalisation of Breastfeeding’ theme of the Exhibition and the fact that there is resistance in today’s society by some people to breastfeeding the mother’s head is drawn slightly turned away. It is towards her baby – aiming to show the connection between mother and baby but with awareness of the outside world.
Step 2 – Preparation of the Wooden Panel and the Acrylic Pour
I taped the sides of the Wooden Panel to protect the Wood, I wanted the sides of the painting to remain a wooden finish. Additionally I prepared the painting surface with a white gesso.
When preparing the paint for the acrylic pour I mixed thick but fluid paint. I was aiming for a consistency that I could swipe but would have texture.
During pouring of the paint I considered where the flesh tones needed to be and where I wanted the colours to be prominent. You can see cells where I have swiped leaving a base mid skin tone in the centre of the painting. This is in preparation for painting tonal areas later.
The white at the top was to provide some calm space. The coloured area at the bottom represents the clothing and the background. There are also swiped coloured areas around the head of mother and baby. As planned these are more golden and for the same reason I decided on blonde hair. Additionally although the swipes were all in one direction I went back into the flesh tone with a brush. Brushstrokes moved the paint into the direction of the breast that would be feeding the baby. I covered the pour and left to dry, because it was so thick I left the painting for a week before painting the next step.
Step 3 – Drawing and Acrylic Painting
I drew the initial drawing onto the pour. The use of a projector allowed me to enlarge and move around until the drawing fitted the background. I then drew the image on using a 3B pencil.
I painted in stages, initially in the areas with a lot of pattern and working towards the skin tone areas.
At a couple of stages I printed a copy in black and white to ensure my tonal values were working. You can see the progress in the photographs.
Just before the final layer of painting I gave myself a couple of days to see ‘clearer’ what was happening. I remembered to sign the painting (something that I have a habit of forgetting before the final varnishing layers!)
Step 4 – Finishing with a Resin Layer and Sanding the Sides.
After drying time the Resin Layer was completed over several days. I cleaned with alcohol, sanded the sides both to provide a good surface to accept the Resin and to remove any paint that had escaped the masking tape before applying the resin. The painting was left to cure for several days prior to adding the D-rings and picture cord ready for hanging.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog and can make it to see ‘As One’ and all the other Artworks at our Exhibition over the next three days at The Gallery, De Montford University, Leicester, 5th to 7th September.
You can tell me what you think of the exhibition, my painting or this blog in the comments below or by using the contact page.