"Pioneer" brings up many images, but I thought about the umbrella style seeds of the wild artichoke. Brave little seeds leaping off the mother plant and going where the wind carries them. Earlier this month I went with my son's class to the San Mateo County History Museum where I learned that artichokes were Italian imports, brought to California in the mid 1800's. The first farms were in Half Moon bay.
Pioneers are the people who go before and pave the way for the rest of us. This image is based on a photograph of my mother and me sniffing a wild artichoke plant near my house. (I also used this technique on Music.) I put down a field of black on a layer in Photoshop--and erase out the positive image. I use a copy of the background over the black layer with reduced opacity to guide me. Then I convert the background color to watercolor using filters.
I like to trace from photographs--but it feels like cheating. But I was heartened by an article in Smithsonian Magazine about Norman Rockwell. He also used photographs as the basis of his paintings (and also felt like it was cheating.)
Norman Rockwell, my mother: artists who have come before me and paved the way.
May Flowers by Penny Noble
1 week ago