This piece is the first of a series I am doing, where I am exploring the intersections of humanity with nature. In this case, that is the human impact on landscapes – by literally altering the landscape by incorporating human faces and forms within them.
To make this piece, I used a photo I took on my trip to Zion in mid March, 2017. I started out with a few base layers and washes to get the general form correct. However, was having a hard time making the landscape look well – though I did have some of the colors down. At this point, I had decided t get the process of painting these landscapes down, and my Proff., Shan Bryan-Hanson, suggested I find some inspirations from Monet’s Cliff paintings. This was a game changer for me – as I modeled after his technique of painting these cliffs.
The portraits were painted wet-on-wet. I found that this techniques allowed to incorporate the faces into the landscapes almost effortlessly – as I didn’t have to worry about mixing color identical to the cliffs behind them, or getting an appearance of the figures being ‘painted on’ rather than being apart of the canyon.
In order to not have the faces look ‘creepy’, I choose to paint them not looking directly at the viewer – but rather, engaging with each other in come way. One segment of the canyon seems discontent, or even just annoyed at the other – something I’m sure would happen after two forms being stuck together for thousands of years. I hoped to have them painted in a more impressionistic way (matching the rest of the painting) and not cartoon-ish or reminiscent of video-game character/superheroes (which may happen in surreal art sometimes).
This piece truly evolved into something I did not predict, or expect to paint – and I’m excited to see where it goes…. I truly enjoyed returning to painting in an impressionistic style, as I did a bit in high school, and cannot wait to create more in this direction.
Here are some process photos of this 2-part piece: