Back in 2014 I took on a rather ambitious painting, considering my style and my aptitude for getting 'lost in the pretty' (also known as caught up in tiny details). Some of you may remember it. It was called "Little Leota's Fortune Telling Kit for Beginners". If not, you're in luck because I posted a pic of it. :P
|"Little Leota's Fortune Telling Kit for Beginners", 11"x14" Gouache, 2014|
"Little Leota" was a monster. It took nearly 300 hours to complete. The wallpaper alone took 18 hours because my idea of using a stencil failed miserably and I had to painstakingly paint the pattern one section at a time. In the process, I pinched my sciatic nerve and my leg would go numb or hurt for nearly a year. "Little Leota" got the nick name "the Beast", and she was a beautiful beast. The Beast drained me, shortly there after I went into a period of burn out. It lasted for 3 years. I didn't stop making art, but I never felt like 'myself' when I worked. It was hard to come up with ideas and nothing seemed to work right. I swore to myself I'd never do anything as ambitious as 'The Beast' again. (For the record, the Sushi Gremlins, which would take a year and a half to complete and exponentially more time to finish, was only 8"x10". It will always be considered the M.O.A.B., or Mother Of All Beasts.)
Return of the Beast
|"Matty's Toy Shoppe"; 11"x14" Gouache; 2017|
For my piece I decided to repurpose a concept I had initially thought up for the Twilight Zone/Alfred Hitchcock show I mentioned in my last post. It was probably the best decision I could have made, to scrap the Curiosity shop idea for Twilight Zone and repurpose it as a Toy Shop for the Mattel show.
The idea was once again, ambitious and required the painting to be the same dreaded 11"x14" that nearly killed me on "Little Leota". I didn't care. For the first time in 3 years I felt excited about a painting. Inspired. It didn't feel like just going thru the motions to hit a deadline, which so many of my pieces had started to feel like.
It took 2 months, and if my calculations are correct, 200 hours to complete. I named it "Matty's Toy Shoppe". Unfortunately it was late and got there two days before the show opened, but it was worth it. I couldn't compromise on the quality.
|Detail shot of the store window. M.U.S.C.L.E. Men are teeny tiny.|
|Emily, Iggy, and Ollie's toy inspiration.|
I wanted to fill the toy store window with a ton of Mattel products. And I did. There's He-Man toys, She-Ra toys, Hot Wheels, a long lost Hot Wheel Toy line called Farbs is in there, Little People, Barbies, the 1988 Barbie Ultra Vette, a Chatty Cathy, a Uke-a-Doodle, some M.U.S.C.L.E. men, a Food Fighter, a Magic 8 Ball, a View Master and a TON of Fischer Price toys. The monster kids all have Mattel products with them too. Ollie (wolf boy) has the Hover Board from Back to the Future 2, Iggy (hunchback) is playing a hand held football game and Emily has a Chatty Cathy doll. There are so many things in there, and wanna know a secret? Most of them were toys that I wanted as a child but couldn't have. There are only 3 toys in there that I had as a child, two of which are 'hidden' (a 1988 Hot Looks Model doll and the Barbie driving the Ultra Vette is supposed to be a Dream Date Barbie, which was one of only 2 Barbies I ever had as a child) and the third is front and center (She-Ra and Swiftwind).
This time around, on the actual painting part, I was so paranoid about ruining the painting that I had a 'drop cloth' on the painting at all times. It would be placed on a section I'd already finished to protect the painting from myself. When I get nervous or tired I tend to drop my paint brush a lot. I've pretty much done it to every one of my paintings, and gouache is unforgiving, so if you drop a paintbrush you're kinda screwed. And damn was I tired. I still work full time as a retakes board artist over on American Dad and don't get home until 8 at night. I'd then feed my husband, make sure things I had to get done were done, and then sit down to work from 10pm to 2 or 3am every week night and then all day and most of the night on weekends. I'd take a night off every 4 days or so to sleep in hopes of not frying my brain, but it was pretty crazy this time around. I've learned that my work takes time and I used to tell people I'd need a month notice in order to be in a show, but now it's looking like I need two months notice.
Okay, enough rambling, time to wrap up.
|Screen capture of the Gallery's front page.|
To see the Mattel Piece, "Matty's Toy Shoppe", in person you can swing by Gallery 1988's until the show ends on July 15th. The show is also available for viewing online over on their website.