The best laid schemes of mice and men
Often go awry. – John Steinbeck
I was not comfortable with the research phase of this composition. And now that I am almost done, I wish I’d painted an alive looking rodent (as opposed to a dead looking one). I loved discovering the small clavicles, the little shoulder blades. and the delicate rib cage.
Every summer I make time, usually 5 consecutive days, to complete one small composition a day. I work from morning to evening. I like the intense practice that gives way to creative solutions. I never know how things will turn out, but I determine to complete a composition that balances and appeals to my eye – and to do so rather quickly. By the end of the week, I have a series of little artworks.
In summer’s past I’ve printed, drawn, and done collage. This time I paint. It’s not a week of work though, it’s going on over a month at this point. I will have 6 small paintings on paper instead of 5. I am working steady and quick but this particular time the process requires a different pace.
It’s varies because I am working a bit larger than usual. I work the front and back of a prepared sheet of paper. The images on each side connect, and I’ve decided material and color have to compliment. I make the egg tempera palette a little different for each panel. Drying time is part of every step. The running themes are the cat (or connection to a cat) and anatomy study, the latter requires research. Consequently I need more than a day to complete an image.
Today I’ve completed a rodent. Never confident the composition would work, I decide today I like the direction it’s taking. The image at the top of the post is the casein under-painting. I finish below – with egg tempera. I planned to only make 6, I need the other side of this paper to complete that intention. But it’s possible I may continue and finish a few more, the challenge appeals to me.
Common House Mouse (Mus Musculus)
Black Rat (Rattus Rattus)
Brown Rat (Rattus Norvegicus)
FYI – Rodents get their name from the Latin – rodere – to gnaw …