When I asked Kaitlyn what her bad habit was, she was quick to answer "I smoke too much pot". I immediately got excited since I felt this was a straight forward and honest answer. I asked her ahead of time to get some leaves so I could put them in a bouquet, an idea that was inspired by an article about weddings in Colorado. So I set about photographing her in her apartment which was painfully too dark. We huddled close to the best light in the room. She lit up and I started shooting but smoking a joint wasn't as good as I expected on camera. Back to my original idea with the bouquet, I placed a few strategic leaves in the bouquet with tape and sticks to hold them up. Again, it wasn't working. It looked too staged. Finally, I said let's just relax. I asked her to put her hair up for fear that I'd have a wild hair image to paint again. But how would I include the leaf? I didn't plan it of course but I just put in her hair and thought it looked pretty good. However, initially, I didn't like the photos. They were too blown out from the sun. When I got back home, I happened to be online looking at some old blog posts and saw one I wrote about my trip to the Frick Gallery to see The Girl with The Pearl Earring. The light bulb went off and I went to edit my images because something reminded me of Vermeer's painting. When I saw the image, I realized it wasn't too blown-out from the sun and upon closer inspection she had that intense, real and vulnerable stare I love to have in my paintings. How excited I was to have yet another painting to create that embodied the lush, colorful and honest approach I have to art!
So there you have it. My new painting, Sativa Sunrise, named after a song my husband wrote. Sativa being a one of two types of Marijuana which is uplifting and energetic. Something that Kaitlin has always been.
I just can plan this stuff. I can only go with my instinct, embrace the situation and let the story unfold, wild and two-toned hair included.
Oil on Linen on stretchers