Monday, February 28, 2011


Delphine // La Femme Naufrage // Lady Shipwreck
30" x 40" (inches) oil & gold leaf on wood panel. 

So. While creating these wild-eyed nautical girls, I've been weaving this sort of vague backstory for them; how they're lives are interwoven, how they're connected, how they abhor and adore each-other. I originally was setting Delphine up to be a motherly figure to Ophelia and Aveline, but while the piece grew and developed, that path started to feel forced. I have several other images brewing in my mind, all tied in with their story line, and I started playing with the idea of all of them being sisters. I'm intrigued by the Greek myth of the constellation Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters, and decided to do a series loosely based around it.
So here we have Delphine, number three in my series The Seven Sisters.

The model for Delphine is my best friend Morgan of Whiteflowers. She wrote a beautiful song in collaboration, which I would love to share with you while you're visiting.

   Nautica [Delphine] by Whiteflowers

Here are some bits about my process for this piece.

As some of you know, a large portion of my creative process is the conceptualizing stage. This stage is really where the piece is really created, where I take a mental image and start drawing & combining elements together in Photoshop until I "find" it. Here is my "sketch" for Delphine. Naturally things change along the way, but I generally have the piece 90% planned out before I start painting. Of course I count on mistakes and bumps along the way to further shape the work.
I've become so comfortable working this way that I think it would be difficult to make up a painting on the spot. I know I would produce a completely different body of work if I was more spontaneous about it, which I'd like to explore more in the future. However, I do take my paintings very seriously, as they are a commitment, both time-wise & emotionally, so I suppose I save the spontaneity for my drawings and conceptualizing (for now).

So. I haven't played around with gold leaf much, so this was a fun experiment. I just sort of made up the process as I went along. I've recently fallen in love with Klimt and love the way he uses gold in his paintings, so I decided to try my hand at it.
After sketching out the figure, I stained the triangle portion black before applying the gold leaf, so bits of black would show through the cracks.

 I definitely busted out the hairdryer at one point. I'm not really a fan of the "waiting for the paint to dry" game. (I consider myself a patient girl, but sometimes you just want to keep going with a project, especially when feeling inspired and gung-ho. Paint drying times can seriously disrupt my flow!!) Okay. So. Hairdryer. Yes. Then comes the leafing. Which is oddly relaxing. I didn't want the gold to be perfect, which is really hard to achieve anyway.

But seriously guys, gold leaf is so pretty in person!! Photos just don't do it justice. There are these really delicate and lovely cracks in the leaf which look beautiful with the black behind it, which you can't really see in the main picture. Also, she looks super weird at this stage. Before I start painting, I like to erase all the extra pencil marks from sketching the figure, otherwise the graphite can muddy up the paint. So all that's left when I start painting are the outlines of the face, etc.

The rest is just clockwork and takes time - applying layers upon layers of paint, until I'm happy with it.

Early stages of the tattoos.


Well that's enough for now. Got a Jackie Kennedy painting I've gotta finish for a fun upcoming Warhol-themed show! Pics soon!
Also thanks to those who came out for my show the other night, it was fun times!

And Thank you for all the birthday love. You're the best.


Michelle Dylan Huynh said...

sigh, why are you so amazing?

Raymonda Adib said...

Dear Charmaine i've read it all and i am amazed of the courage that you have 2 post each detail of your work and your work in progress
well not all does that but you do ....
that must contain artistically weird courage
not 2 flatter or anything
the steps i found in your work made me feel surprise of the result you got into !!! from the drawing 2 the final ...
+ i didn't know that you PREPARE THAT MUCH !!!!....
the contradiction you hold between : Charmaine prepare 2222 much
and the other Charmaine that doesn't like the ''dry game'' thing ...

+the Mythology in ur concepts Well Done with that Twisted mystical touch ....
with my ancient Assyrian Neo-Aramaic language i'll tell you
Shlama Raba allakh w al fan ediyakh
=A Big Salute for you and for your art

Sarie said...

Hello! I love your work and I love seeing how your paintings develop! So cool.

I was wondering, do you treat the wood prior to painting on it? If so, what do you use?
Thanks! x

Anonymous said...

I really love your work


Chromotherapy said...

Excellent! its always interesting to see an artists process

Brie said...

I love that you post your process and not shy about it. I am beyond obsessed with your work and wish I had jut a bit of your talent!

Canvas bags said...

Wow It is very beatiful Image and photo for model. I like it. Thanks

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