Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Beautiful Balloon

I've been trying to let go of some of the piles of "stuff" that I have to "use for a project someday".  A lot of these piles contain precious magazines and catalogs full of delightful images that I KNOW I'll need as soon as the waste management company drives off with them!  However, I do step into reality from time to time, and on one such occasion I realized that if I don't get rid of some of these precious piles, the "project" is going to be an episode of "Hoarders"!

I was flipping through the pages of a circa 1990's, The Artist Magazine, and I came across these lovely pages of the work of artist, Mitchell Johnson.  I tore them out and set them aside, but there were so many other lovely images in this issue that I couldn't get myself to gift it to garbage can just yet.

Something about the top image immediately reminded me of a day last summer when Keith, my son, Nick and his girlfriend, Heather and I went to a hot air balloon launch at a local winery.  It was gloriously bright, sunny day in June perfect for a balloon launch and crowds of people sipping wine and taking photos. While the people in this painting are wearing long sleeves, people at the launch were half naked in halters and flip flops; a small detail I'm willing to overlook for the sake of art!

I cut along the heads of the people so they would have a definite line, and tore the page along their feet so it would blend in with the page.  I then began laying in the background with a beautiful blue sky and a gently rolling background hardscape.  After that, I painted in some balloons.  I decided that I wanted to split the crowd up a little bit more, so I separated the image just about in half.  I also removed a figure from the second painting to add balance to the right side of the spread.

I completed the spread by adding further highlights to the balloons, trees and foreground. I also smudged in some facial features on the male in the foreground.  I had to laugh when I finished because there's only one person that looks like they're even aware of the balloons, and that would be the gentleman in the red-striped shirt who appears to be taking a photo. 

This spread was a lot of fun to complete as it gave me the opportunity to relive the experience of the great joy it brought me to watch all those beautiful balloons float off into the distance.  Don't be afraid to use images of an artwork that moves you.  Alter it and make it your own.  If you're not selling the artwork that you complete and it's for personal use, you're OK.  Just remember that inspiration is everywhere if you're paying attention, and you might just find it waiting in an old magazine.  "Happy Creating"!


  1. Can we do lunch sometime, GF! I would love to pick your brain and see some of your work! I live in Hudson and could drive up, or if you wanted to head down to Hudson, I could treat you at a local jaunt! Let me know....

  2. wow I really like this piece! And what a creative way to reuse that image. Even though the people don't seem to be aware of the balloons it totally works for me. It seems pretty realistic with people gathering in crowds and talking to one another or just wandering around. :) Great job!


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