Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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02/06/2005: "The "Gift" of Insomnia? (Would you like Alpha Waves with That?)"

Saturday night I couldn't get to sleep...I stayed up until 3:00am which isn't unusual for me on a weekend night, but then it turned to 4am, 5am, 6am...and I felt completely wide awake. I finally went to bed but just lay there listening to CDs for hours; the amazing thing is that while I was lying there all the images for the April solo came to me, one after the other. I can still see exactly how I want each piece to look when it's finished. This takes a lot of pressure off, since up until this weekend I knew what theme I wanted to work on for the show but I didn't have any specific images.

I did start one painting Sat. afternoon, prior to getting the insomnia...maybe starting work on the project is what got my brain so fired up to begin with. My friend Jen came by and posed as though she were playing a fiddle. Then I pieced a bunch of individual images together with a photo I took last summer in the fireweed field out by the airport. Below is the PhotoShopped image of how the first painting will look (more or less)and I've already got the first layer of paint down on that big 30x40 canvas I mentioned earlier.

grass-fiddler-small (56k image)

I wanted this one to look as though the woman is standing waist high in the windy grasses while she plays the fiddle. I was in that field and the grass really was that high, I'm just not sure if it comes across that way in the painting, or if the perspective looks off. And if it is off, what should I do to fix it? I was going to have her clear in the foreground, but what I love about the landscape photograph is all the movement of the grass in the foreground that I'm knifing in (any thoughts Dio :) ) so I didn't want to cover that up with the figure.

Also, I nearly finished the cat painting for the KTOO charity show. I didn't get anything practical done this weekend but I feel like I've accomplished a lot. Getting insomnia can make you feel like you're losing your mind, but it has its good points as well. Does anyone else feel they get their best ideas late at night lying in bed unable to sleep, or is it just me? I mean, I know people have creative experiences right before sleep, from entering an alpha state...I'm not talking about that. I talking about being wide awake from a brain you can't turn off.

Replies: 5 Comments

on Monday, February 7th, holly said

I think what makes this work is the fact that you have *so much* grass in the foreground- it gives the illusion of height to the figure. Any less grass and you'd have a torso bizarrely levitating in a field. This way, her legs are implied, though not seen directly.

Now all you need is Rome burning in the background...

on Monday, February 7th, Elise said

I kept thinking of the floating torso thing myself, particularly since I knows it ain't down there...but knowing that the illusion works is good.

You know, I *could* have the mountains on fire in the background. I took that photo in the summer when we were having all the problems with forest fires and there was a lot of smoke in the air...that's why you can barely see the mountains in the photo.

What would be the girl's equivalent of the name Nero? Nerolina? That's what I could title this piece, see if anyone gets it.

on Tuesday, February 8th, Dio said

I have to concur with Holly - I like it the way it is and I think that knifing is probably a good method given the subject - its a nice image. A little hillfire would be smart as well. :)

on Tuesday, February 8th, subi said

wow, elise... looks like insomnia can be productive! i really like this interesting turn your paintings have taken of late...i really love the mixed media aspect of both this one & the cat one... all i can say is, wow! love!!! keep at it!!!

on Tuesday, February 8th, Elise said

Thanks Dio, I was kindof joking about the fire but I don't know, a little hill fire might be interesting...maybe I'lll play around in PhotoShop a little more on this one...

which reminds me Subi, the image above isn't really a mixed media piece...I mean, it is, but it isn't the "finished" piece. I could show you something similar for every painting I've done in the past 2 years. I piece bits from my paintings and photographs together collage style in PhotoShop to create the thumbnail images that I base the larger paintings on. I've just started showing those mock-ups is all. When I'm finished, I'll post the actual paintings next to them and you can tell me wich you like better.

I mean, I guess there's no reason why the PhotoShop images can't be works in their own right, i've just never thought of them in that way.