Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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01/12/2004: "Very Productive Sunday"

This afternoon I basically finished my mixed CD, all except for two songs that I'm waiting to come in from Amazon. I listened to it several times this afternoon and I must say, it is quite good.

I also took some time to sketch out some of the paintings that I'll be starting soon. Sat. morning I went out to get the mail and noticed the Fed Ex delivery person had left me a note on Friday that they had tried to deliver 4 boxes from Dick Blick. I was so bummed because it means waiting for them to redeliver them on Monday... But I figured I would not use it as an excuse to not work.

A friend was supposed to come over today and pose for me, but she got too busy and had to reschedule for next week. So, instead I went online and looked up some tasteful nudes. It's difficult to find artistic poses online because there is so damn much porn and those poses are NOT what I'm looking for.

I found a few that were close to what I want. I saved them, deleted the background, and then imported them into background photos I took last summer of maiden's hair fern, skunk cabbage, and devil's club. Don't worry, I belive in copyright laws (I'm a librarian after all) so I'm not using the nude photos that other people took for anything more than design placement in the nature photos I took. Once I find the right pose for the right background, I'll have my model take those poses when she comes next week. I'll already know which one's work and which don't. Then I'll delete the studies. I've done several sketches from my PhotoShop altered photos, exagerating the forms, experimenting with background colors, etc. I'm glad that I'm getting some of this foot work done ahead of time so I'll be ready to start on the canvases when they arrive tomorrow.

Having thumbnails in PhotoShop is also good because, as with photography, you can crop your image a hundred different ways until you find the one you like best, rather than having to redraw it over and over again.

I've been working like this for several years and I think it saves a lot of time. The only thing you have to watch out for is this. If you work the thumbnails to the point where you think they are perfect and you're ready to paint them on the full scale canvas, make sure you still allow yourself some flexibility...otherwise they might come out looking too stiff. No matter how much work you do before you start a painting, they tend to take on a life of their own once you start to mix the oils, and that's where the magic can happen. So, for me, doing a lot of sketching and photoshop work ahead of time is helpful but I don't let them ruin the spontaneity of working on cavas.