The Making of
"Another Day in Paradise"
The Making of "Another Day in Paradise"
Back in December of 2014, I was
doing a show with zero room behind the tent. I usually
have a doorway on my back wall and sit back there
facing the art patrons entering my booth. So this
particular show I was sitting across from the tent
facing into it. After two days, I had decided there
needed to be something large and brooding staring down
on anyone who entered the space. Since I had been
doing a lot of animal scratchboards, the first thing I
considered was a bear or a tiger rearing up on its
hind legs, threatening everyone.
When I started the sketches, I knew it needed to be a person, not another animal portrait.
I still wanted large, brooding,
staring, and menacing, but it needed to be a person.
An irate wife/mother/grandmother wielding a rolling
pin. I didn't want it to be a pretty picture. I wanted
it both humorous and dark.
First thing I needed was a model. At a dive bar in St. Petersburg I ran across a homeless woman who agreed to pose for a bottle of wine. I declined her other offers. She donned one of my wife's old robes - which I let her keep (I hate to run the washing machine with only one item in it anyway.)
I snapped 6 or 7 images, then we
heard a siren the next street over. She panicked,
grabbed the wine and ran out of the house still
wearing the robe. I was glad. That saved me an hour
driving and having to listen to her incoherent
With a reference image under my
belt, now I needed a surface on which to draw. 30x40
is about as big as it gets without buying paper on
rolls. I wanted this image to be 30" x 60", so
it would rise almost two feet above the top wall of my
art show tent. I also wanted a rigid, lightweight
surface that I could varnish and frame without glass.
I decided to glue a 30x60 matboard onto a double layer
of 30x60 foamboards. I ordered a 30x60 frame,
the mat and the foam boards - which the frame supply
store cut to size.
The charcoal goes beautifully onto
the matboard, however, the matboard did not like
being covered with varnish. I had about 10 long
skinny bubbles appear, all in the blackest section
above and below the rolling pin. I cut them open,
worked a little glue inside and pressed closed. At
one particularly bad spot, the paper came away
completely leaving a 1/2" white circle between the
mirror and the rolling pin. Fortunately, it was in
a black area as well. I added charcoal, sprayed,
then coated again with varnish. Its obvious to me,
but no-one else has noticed it. Not even the
Mainsail judge who gave me an award!