NO MORE NOSTALGIA / by jessica kirkpatrick

 Oil on Panel, 45" x 50" 2018

  Watch how I made this painting from beginning to end.  This piece is intense and dramatic, speaking to my own childhood in Northern California and but also carries themes of religion and the feminine body.  This piece went through several incarnations, which is frustrating and confusing, but I know that when that happens in a piece that I am probably growing as an artist. 


I start out collecting images I am attracted to as painting sources.  These are mostly my own photos, but I will also source found imagery. Such as the one of actress Blake Lively's feet from the foot fetish  Consciously or not, I tend to combine a landscape background, architectural mid-ground with a figurative element.  These collage mash up create surprising narratives, and I enjoy how meaning and making inform and assert each other.  

Below was the original concept.  I inverted the building to negative, and overlayed some floral patterning.  I liked the confusion in perspective between the high horizon line and building looming ahead.  I like the widescreen format of this composition but I ran into a lot of trouble when I attempted to adapt to a much more square shaped substrate--a panel I had on hand I though would suit this painting well.  

P1060913-Recovered copy.jpg

working in a series--I will make lots of watercolor studies.  This helps me to find some common themes and develop a palette.  Because I work from digital collage, a small study helps make the transition from photo to painting, to see how my ideas will translate into paint. 


Stage one: getting a color scheme and placing the composition.  Starting a new painting is always the most exciting because it feels so fresh and vivid.  Each brush stroke is alive with potential.  I had to decide how much sky I wanted on with the squarer composition.


stage two:  I love some things that are going on, but at the end of the day just dont feel that back ground works.  Looking back it was maybe not as bad as I thought, but the painting still felt claustrophobic.   


responding to some of the problems I recognized I went back to the computer to resolve.  In the way I added a few more elements which created an entirely new narrative.  I was very interested in Giotto for how he treats architecture and space--often skewing perspective and scale to make an image work, but also to show the importance of the characters.  I followed his inspiration directly by "quoting" him into my painting.  I was also responding to the state of decay in these old fresco, in which little chunks of plaster and paint fall off.  I enjoy that sense of history and how the image is embedded in the ancient plaster.  I emulated that effect by using distressing techniques like scraping and sanding on my painting.


while the sky was really beautiful and romantic somehow it still wasnt capturing what i wanted.  I imagined just abstracting it and darkening it.  So I use the computer just to imagine some options.

nostalgiastudy copy.jpg

i felt so crazy painting over my lovely sky.  but it also felt refreshing just simplify the composition and palette.


i went even crazier and scratch out the top layer of paint and then pored creamy paint all over! i decided the painting need a vertical element.  however the pore came out a bit scary and alien like, which wasnt my intention.  However there were some wonder marbled effects i want to keep.


finally!  i tied it all together with a thick glaze of dark blue which added to the drama, and made the building stand out.  i carved out a moon from my paint pore, which ties in with the concept of this piece being about patriarchy handing over the baton to feminine spirituality.  i worked on the disciples section and cleaned up my goddess feet.  i appreciate the journey this painting took me on, realized i want to paint on panel more often. i think i am getting better as an artist stepping into the unknown--however i hope that my next projects are a bit more straightforward.  well that being said, i think each painting has its own fight--and if there is no fight you always wonder if you pushed it to its highest potential.  i just mean to say, i really love simplicity and i guess that sometimes i have to go through a complicated process to enjoy simplicity.