Saturday, January 31, 2009

Genesis of The Silkworm

I've spent the last few days working on The Silkworm, the painting for the competition I mentioned a couple of posts ago. Nothing focuses like a deadline and six-ish weeks is not long at all for me.

In the picture the sky is bent like the corner of a room. A humanoid figure is nailed and shackled to the sky and his penis (which looks like a silkworm) is pulled out to a thin thread down and into the top of a winding windmill on the floor. An embryo-worm collection cells is in the sky near his left hand. The rolling landscape of hills is made of green silk. In the sky on the left is a dangling cocoon and below it a silk-moth, but artificially elongated a little, like the skull in The Ambassadors, so it looks like a spatter of liquid or the splayed form of the man (the man, the pseudo-moth) himself.

After reading about the slave life of the wholly artificially cultivated silkmoth, the idea jumped right into my head in one go and I tried my best to stick with the original vision, even if painting a windmill turns out to be one of the most difficult objects anyone could paint! It features parallel lines, slats and lattices and it is all circles and ellipses in one perspective or another.

Each element was modelled, well most. I've got lots of polyester 'silk', and spent a good few hours making and painting a model windmill, then there was the figure himself and the extensive drawing. After two and a half days the plan is complete, and this amazing painting (because all great paintings should be amazing and wonderful and unforgettable) is ready for underpainting on Thursday or Friday.

Tomorrow I'll trace the underdrawing to Money Just Running Out, a painting of coins and butterflies that I've painted twice, learning with each of those bitter defeats. Here's hoping that with the third glorious attempt comes a great glorious victory!

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