by Cathy HegmanDetail of Casting Lines by Cathy Hegman
On Fathers Day, with both children far away, I spent the day fishing with my husband. The children called and it was good to hear their voices, it is funny how you take their voices for granted when your children are home, but you hang on every word when you don't see them very often. The day of fishing was fun and it conjured up new inspiration for my art that week. The main catch of the day was bream, a unique flat fish that can pull like a whale on the line and completely convince you that it weighs at least ten pounds when in reality it weighs only ounces. When the day was done and we came home and looked at the fish we had caught, I could not help but be inspired by their beauty, the symmetrical pattern of the scales the colors that cannot be described with words and the fluid movement they made as they swam through the water, the list goes on and on. Frank, on the other hand, saw supper.
I photographed them and printed them and tried to think of ways to use the fish in a painting. I chose to represent in paint the way fish and the act of fishing relate to my life. The above painting is the result of that inspiration. In the early stages of planning a painting, I try to think of ways that I relate to the subject. When I think of fish, the first thought that comes to mind is Jesus telling the disciples (mostly fishermen themselves) to be fishers of men. I then try to relate this thought to life today and I am drawn to how intimate it is to fish with someone, you talk and share the whole time and you are involved in each others catches and misses. Fishing forces you to go at a pace that the fish determine and the inevitable lulls between catches are filled with optimism, hope and lots of talking. I inserted symbolism throughout the painting to reflect my feelings about the act of fishing and the sharing of time between my husband and myself. I painted with a palette of hues very similar to the colors found in the fish and the lake water, predominantly cool colors. I felt the need to warm the painting up a bit so I glazed it with quinacradone gold acylic paint. It is a good idea in a predominantly cool painting to add some warm colors and vice versa. The contrast of warm and cool keeps the painting interesting and gives variety in the painting. I used a linen canvas and glued it to a board. I thought of using paper and watercolor but opted for the canvas and acrylic since I knew I wanted to add some texture to symbolize netting, and I felt the board would be a more stable than paper. I painted the background in a series of transparent layers of paint, I lost count after the eighth color layer, my aim was to try to emulate a background like the lake water appeared to me that day, deep, clear and mysterious. I placed my center of interest slightly off center. The fish is obvious and painted in a very factual manner (and symbolic as the fish is a symbol of Christ in Christian culture), so I decided to add the seven red circles or pearls (that symbolize the seven days of creation to me but could mean something entirely different to someone else),thus giving a bit of mystery to the piece. It is often good to insert something in your painting that creates an air of mystery or that could be interpreted in different ways to your painting this enables the viewer to interact with the painting. The shape of the arc of the pearls repeats the roundness seen in the eye of the fish and the three circles below it. Repetition is a good way to create harmony in your painting. The upper portion of the painting is a band that visually binds the painting and gives it stability. I added the netting to give a visual and physical texture the to painting.
I hope this will inspire you to look at the everyday occurences in your life and to find new ways to use them to communicate through your art. Thank you again for reading and have a wonderful week.
I would like to add I have an article in the current issue of Watercolor Artist Magazine that is a technique driven piece that describes in detail how I paint watercolor and gouache on alternative surfaces. I hope you will read it and try it for yourself.
All artwork and text posted on this blog are solely owned and copyrighted by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced or copied in any form or fashion without the expressed written permission of Cathy Hegman. Anything included in this blog is solely the personal experience and thoughts of the artist and not meant to be anything more than helpful guidelines for others to read.