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March edition

I thought I would take this opportunity to share a bit about my process when I create a new series. 

Steps... roughly speaking:

  • The germ of an idea begins and makes me smile. Typically, this will get written down in multiple places and is genuinely just a starting place. It almost always involves lists at some point. I do love to make a good list! (Or ten) The current series was born out of the idea of combining some abstraction I had been practicing with my loved animals. 
  • I decided that a peacock would make a great test case for my hybrid 'abstractified' animal. I always appreciate the element of play in making art and starting on this new path was a great, playful challenge. I learned a lot from making the peacock and decided that it was worth continuing to explore.
  • The last full abstract I created was an exaggerated rectangle and I found the shape really pleasing. Between that and the idea that a giraffe would provide fertile ground for abstractification, I decided on a 24"x12" panel. Spoiler alert: I had no idea at this point that size would be repeated in all of the paintings in this series. Once completed however, Lulu became my muse for the whole series as I envisioned multiple panels in a row. This was fueled by both The Clippers and superheroes... At Staples Center there are a collection of banners of the current starters and I feel like I have seen a similar version of The Justice League & Avengers. In a way, I see my animals as superheroes, so it all made some sort of wacky sense to me.
  • Back to list making. I began to think of all of the animals that might be included and at the same time decided that I wanted to alternate between silver and gold leaf. (The list gets continually added to and subtracted from during the series). I then indicated silver or gold based on what I thought each animal should be. It was around this time that I liked the idea of the gold leaf animals would face forward and the silver leaf animals facing to the left. In reality, I suppose this doesn't really matter unless someone buys multiples, but I found it pleasing as I worked.
  • [Skipping over the painting steps... I will save that for another day]
  • Once the paintings are finished and I have sat with them a bit, there story begins to emerge and that becomes their title. A funny aside; when doing shows, I have experienced both lovers & haters of my titles... and sometimes converts. My favorite story as was told to me after was when the person asked someone else if they really had to type up the full title for the card and cursed me a bit when told 'yes'. But then upon seeing the work and meeting me that she forgave it and understood! In this case Lulu the Giraffe was the first to get her story and it is as follows: Lulu firmly believes that love & understanding will ultimately win the day
  • From that first title I identified the pattern for the rest. Going back to my superhero reference, I decided they would all be related to core beliefs of each animal. The Ostrich became Oscar (yes, I do also have an ongoing list of names that I keep. Sometimes I use the list and sometimes I get the inspiration directly). His full story is: Oscar doggedly believes that nothing good happens before 9am & caffeine. And the secretary bird became: Nigel (got some help from a friend with his name) adamantly believes that the glass is half full, but only barely.

And that's it! Phew, you made it through the crazy ride that is my serious, but play filled process. For more titles, please check out my shop as the series gets listed.



Shaney Watters