I knew what the girl should look like more or less. I thought about scanning in images of myself when I was little-thinking perhaps I'd use my own likeness for her face. But I knew I'd illustrate her body & clothes-maybe collage it from another source like an old pattern for girls clothing. I also wasn't sure if I wanted to use real sand for a base, or use a photograph for the entire background. On top of that I had no idea how I was going to incorporate the text! Should I print it out with a specific font & then transfer it to the surface? Should I write it out w/ a Sharpie? Should I print the text out w/ the font & just use that print? All these decisions!
When I finally took stock in how much I was questioning my process I came to the conclusion I was overanalyzing, & really paralyzing any progress I was going to make. I went into my office, sat at my table, took the canvas in hand, & started experimenting. I began painting the figure for the girl, going directly from my sketch, thinking once I had that going I'd be able to figure out the rest- I was right! From then on everything pretty much fell into place.
(the text reads: "and she rode and rode and rode until the sand and the wind and the misty spray filled her hair and ears and heart with the the joy of knowing her freedom")
I used paper from an old pattern I picked up from the thrift store as a base for the canvas, as well as a surface for the text. I used stamps w/ a broken down font to print the text, & glued them to the "sand" with acid free rubber cement. I used small brads as joints for the girl (not sure if you can see them in the pics). I spray painted the girls bike, outlined it in sharpie, & stiched spokes onto the wheels with gray thread.
To create the lower half of the canvas, I enhanced the creased & uneven texture of the paper pattern with chalk, used a light wash of cream colored paint to beef up the chalk, & dusted more chalk over the wash to create a sandy look by scraping a pallette knife over the surface of my pastel. For the sky, I washed it with a grayish blue paint, again enhancing the creases in the pattern, but also allowing the pattern itself to shine through. For the clouds, I referenced some grade school science booklets I'd picked up at the thrift store as well. These booklets had all the primary groups of biology sectioned out, with pictures of animals & plants, as well as tests at the end of each section so the students could review all the information. There were clouds in one of images exeplifying conservation & I thought the design would work perfectly for my iamge of the girl with her bike by the sea. Of course I added my own touch to them & my canvas was complete! I LOVE the look & feel of the image-I couldn't be happier with the results :)