Valerie Damen
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Acrylic Paintings

Client: Internal
Services Provided: Fine Art

 

It took some time for me to let go of any preconceived stylistic visions of color and application, but once I let go and became connected with my mind, body, and music that I was listening to, then magical things began to happen within each work of art.

 

Acrylic Paintings

Client: Internal
Services Provided: Fine Art

Overview

During my career adventure in Victoria, BC, I finally fell back in love with painting. I had temporarily stopped drawing and painting for a few years — Grant MacEwan's three-year design program had burnt me out to the core, so I decided to take a break from hands-on creations and instead, strengthen my digital design skills. 

Challenges

I faced two main challenges during the production of this project:

1. Getting back into the swing of things. I felt extremely rusty from not drawing or painting for a few years, so it took some time to get back into the zone again.

2. Letting my brain, energy, and conscience fall into the hands of the creative process. 

Solution

Initially, when I spontaneously purchased a set of canvases and a handful of paints, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to create — I just knew that my creative soul was ready to explore the world of painting and drawing yet again.

A few weeks went by, and the glowing, white canvases starred at me each week as they were propped up on the floor against my bed. Every morning I would get ready, go to work, and return home, wondering if today was the day that I would finally paint. The truth was, I was scared. I was extremely rusty and afraid to venture off into this closed book that I had chosen to avoid for so long. Thoughts like "what if I fail?" and "what if I can't paint anymore?" flooded my mind and aided my procrastination.

It wasn't until I randomly began peering through old photos on my computer, that I began to feel that old spark of inspiration again. I had rediscovered a series of art that I had created in university. My brain immediately began critiquing my 5 - 6-year-old work — thinking how the composition could be improved, how the stylization could be reapproached, and new potential color palettes to integrate. It was at this point, that I decided to steer my painting project into a "reinterpretation and reexploration of old artwork" theme.

The first painting that I chose to revisit was called, Snooty. He was originally created for a university project where I had to visually illustrate the concept of music using none cliche imagery. I chose to repaint him because I was captivated by his spiral moustache and funny bowtie. I loved his disposition and comical nature exuded through his facial expression and pouty lip. 

The second painting that I was inspired to recreate was, Tiny Tina and the Gigantic Burger. She was originally created using chalk for a university project that required me to visually illustrate a cliche saying. The quote that I was assigned with was "your eyes are bigger than your stomach." I ended up interpreting my theme into a world where a tiny girl was about to tackle the task of chowing down on a mammoth of a burger. I was extremely drawn to this old project because the composition really complimented the very narrow and very tall canvas that I randomly purchased a few weeks ago — also I thought the story that the illustration told was quirky and funny.

The third painting that I chose to recreate was called, Beaky. He initially was just a rough owl sketch that I found in an old notebook of mine (the original sketch was inspired by an illustration that I had found online). I decided to bring him to life through paint because apparently I had become subconsciously obsessed with owls — I wasn't fully aware of my obsession until I started unpacking my kitchen after the big move to Victoria, and realized everything was pretty much owl-themed. Not only did I love his overly caffeinated expression, but I thought he would be a great addition to the kitchen's owl family.

The fourth painting on my list to revisit was called, Petey. Although he wasn't originally created for a school project, he did carry a very interesting and personal story that stemmed from a random sketch I drew for an international Reddit Gift Exchange recipient. See I was paired up as Secret Santa for a stranger living in Japan, who randomly requested that in addition to her gift, that I draw a polar bear on her package for her too. I ended up going beyond her cute request and, instead, snuck in a quick illustrated polar bear drawing using chalk. My boyfriend, the creative guru that he is, ended up naming him Petey and it wasn't long until he had written a rhyming children's book story about the little guy. I added him to the painting project because not only was he adorable, but the story behind his creation was captivating.

Technique

When I finally felt energized and mentally prepared, I started off the big project by transferring each of my rough sketches onto the blank canvas itself — I knew that subconsciously I wouldn't be able to even touch paint until each glowing, white canvas had something on it — even if that something was light pencil lines and smudges.

Throughout the next few months, each painting went through an incredible transformation and exploratory adventure. It took a long time for me to align my mind, energy, and conscience into the trust of the creative process. It took some time for me to let go of any preconceived stylistic visions of color and application, but once I let go and became connected with my mind, body, and music that I was listening to, then magical things began to happen within each work of art. Every character, object, and environment within each painting came to life through experimental technique and dramatic shading. Although each painting took on a completely different subject matter, they all told a story using humour and shared a similar style.