INSPIRED BY FRA ANGELICO
Many moons ago I spend a year at college studying Art History. I remember thinking back then that it would be a perfect subject for me but sadly I didn't always [read: hardly ever] agree with my teacher. We didn't see the same things in the paintings and he had been teaching this for so many years that he couldn't see it any other way than his own.
However art meant a lot to me and still does and from time to time I spend hours on Wiki Art soaking in some inspiration. This week I concentrated on early Renaissance portraits. At some point while drawing all these faces these past couple of weeks I was reminded of a time where they did what I was trying to do. Draw faces that to me looked more like an imagination than an actual replication.
While this was supposed to be about faces the background of Fra Angelico's Archangel Gabriel caught my attention. While it is made to look like angel wings all I could see was the feathered indian headdress. (Which probably has a name but I don't know it)
I really like the structure in the piece. It is painting used Tempera which is an ancient coloring method used before oil paints and one of the reason why I've always believed painters in the early days must have been a little bit mad. Tempera is egg yolk, vinegar and natural color pigments. Natural color pigments that often contained amazing stuff like mercury, arsenic and lead. Imagine if you can - walking into a 15th century studio of artists like Fra Angelico and than take a deep breath in. Rotting egg yolks, lead and vinegar. Wouldn't you have gotten a little mad as well?
However keeping in mind how difficult this was to work with, it only adds to my belief that these early Renaissance days belonged to some of the most amazing artists of our history.
Okay enough history let's get on to what I wanted to share with you this week.
I know that I could have chosen to try and draw this myself but perhaps out of laziness or fear of not getting it just right I picked a different path this time.
Using the shape tool in Photoshop Elements I outlined the different shapes of the head piece. I added a few circles to add to my idea but overall I stuck to the original.
I kept them as seperate layers so I could use them as clipping masks for my digital papers. I used papers from the latest edition of Mixed Media Monthly from The Lilypad
I loved the patterns of the papers but the colors were a bit strong and I wanted to steal a bit of that amazing texture from the original.
So I took the original piece and added it to each layer changing the blend mode to multiply. This way I got the patterns of the digital paper but the texture of the original piece.
And that is how Fra Angelico's arch angel turned into my Indian girl. I simply used one of the drawings I had already painted last week. I know I could have made something new but this week has truly been a week where I knew I had to make it easy for myself. Nothing wrong with that.
This post will be linked up to Paint Party Friday, Art Journal Every Day and Kim Dellow's Show your face.
And if you'd like to attempt digital art journaling I highly recommend Mixed Media Monthly from The Lilypad. Great graphics every month at a reasonable price.