Wow! I can’t believe it’s already been over a year since I completed the Inner Child series for the big Art Detour Event in the art district of downtown Phoenix. I’m one of the featured artist at the Vertigo Gallery, that is participating in this event. Originally, the exhibit was scheduled for this time last year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was indefinitely delayed – until now.
The Inner Child exhibit at the Vertigo Gallery, is a multi-artist exhibit featuring works that evoke childhood memories with many directly incorporating iconic childhood toys. My series, Inner Child, was inspired by the children in my life. Although my son is a grown man, my sister has a young child, as well as adorable grandchildren. The other children in the series were inspired by family of my friends, as well as beautiful children from my imagination.
Each painting was produced on stretched canvas. Three paintings are facing horizontally, measuring 24″x30″x.5″; and three are facing vertically, measuring 30″x24″x.5″. The technique I used is very similar to that of my Glitter Gals collection. The difference is in the collage process and materials. Essentially, each painting is completed in a series of layers, including the subject. The layers are created with mostly pre-cut, and pre-painted canvas paper. It’s a tedious process, but the results are so incredibly satisfying. In fact, I’ve done my last two commissioned family portraits this way. All the paintings include my signature materials of glitter, acrylic gel medium, Hodge Podge paste, jewelry pieces, metal, found objects, fabric, and acrylic paint – all finished with a layer of acrylic pouring medium. That’s what makes these paintings shine!
Big Eyes is a portrait interpretation of my grand-niece. This is also the first painting in the Inner Child series. What makes this piece unique is the layers of the leaves behind and in front of the portrait figure itself. The hair, clothing, and facial expressions all enhanced with layers, painting techniques, jewelry, and glitter. Big Eyes has also been a big hit so far at the gallery. Who knows, this painting might be finding a new home soon. I would be so thrilled!
Raspberry Jazz is my portrait interpretation of my youngest nephew, who I adore. He lives in Hawaii, as does my grand niece, and he is true Hawaiian in his lifestyle and character. This particular painting was inspired by a photo post of my nephew where he was exploring the art of wearing your food on your fingers. Hence the title of my painting, Raspberry Jazz. For the raspberry fingers, I created the raspberries by using felt, beads, and glitter. I then glued them over the fingers of the painted collage hand that I made and cut-out, to glue over the actual full figure, to show depth within the collage painting. The hand looks like it’s coming out of the painting somewhat. I then finished the painting with acrylic pouring medium. If it’s not finished with acrylic pouring medium, then it’s usually resin. My two favorite paint “sealers”!
For Princess, the idea was inspired by several child and pet references I found. Plus, I wanted to create something that would draw the viewer closer to the emotion of the painting. And I wanted to use more glitter! For the dress I used lace and glitter. I also used glitter for the dog’s eye, and gold paint for the bracelet. The dog’s intent focus on the child makes this painting extra warming and sweet. The glitter just brings some of that magic to the painting, like a “little princess and her pup”!
The Garden is the fourth painting in this series. Inspired by a photos of my friend’s daughter from a visit to the botanical garden. This one has more detail within the layers. In fact, this mixed-media collage incorporates layers of paint pour pieces in the shapes of stones, artificial fabric leaves, mixed with cut-out leaves from paint pour on paper scraps, and actual leaves painted on the canvas. The hair was created with layers of canvas paper, modeling paste, and paint. The dress is particularly unique. The layers are quite intricate. Each pleat in the dress is a cut piece of painted canvas paper, with fabric glued over top, then layered together to create the dress, that’s then glued over the layers. There is only one piece of jewelry, which is the barrette in the little girl’s hair. Glitter is used to accent the painting. Finished with a thick layer of acrylic pouring medium. This is actually the heaviest piece within the series.
Friendship is the 5th painting in the Inner Child series, and inspired from several photo posts of grandchildren that my coworker and friend shared with me. What makes this painting extra special is that I’ve watched these kids grow up, as I’ve been working with my friend for over 14 years now. For this painting, I used metallic colors blended in with white and black pigments for the base over the first collage layer. As with my other paintings in this series, I painted the faces on canvas papers, which I glued together, and cut out to glue onto the canvas. I used neon paints blended with iridescent paint to cover the clothes and heart on the t-shirt. This painting was more about details, and capturing the expression and mood, then it was about collage layers. I still managed to include some jewelry pieces, as well as lots and lots of glitter! All my paintings in this series are finished with a layer of acrylic pouring medium, which makes them shine!
Learning Keys is the 6th and final painting in the Inner Child series. This painting was also inspired by my Hawaiian nephew. He enjoys reading, learning, art, and running around like a mad man – which makes me laugh out loud! Like The Garden, this painting was also quite an elaborate collage piece. Aside from my usual techniques, I used the glue-gun to add details to the bookshelf, and books. The results worked wonderfully in this piece.
The Inner Child series is a celebration of youth, imagination, and innocence. I’m looking forward to art lovers sharing their experience with me when they view my work at the gallery. So far, in the first two weekends that it’s been open, this collection has been very well received. In fact, one of the pieces, “Raspberry Jazz” was featured in the Daily Detour e-newsletter, as the image header for what’s being featured at the Vertigo Gallery during this event.
Don’t forget, the exhibit is being held from now through March 31st of this year. Gallery hours are 10am to 6pm AZ time, on Saturdays, and noon to 5pm AZ time on Sundays. Go to the Events page for details and the gallery location. I’ll be at the gallery again Saturday afternoon, on March 20th. I hope to see you there!
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