Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Networking-Old School

Networking-Old School
24 x 30 inches acrylic paint on gallery wrapped stretched canvas
Photo reference for the interior room ( Clarksville TN. Photographs, Drane Collection titled Interior of Room) used with the kind permission of AustinPeayStateUniversityFelixG.WoodwardLibrary,Archives&SpecialCollections

This time around I'm talking a bit about my most recent painting, “Networking-Old School”. I started out with an idea for a painting showing how suffragists might have begun their networking in support of getting the “votes for women” or the 19thAmendment passed in 1920. I wanted to show how local ladies would gather at one person's home or another, have refreshments and mingle and chat......about the weather....or the possibility of getting to vote, and the impact that could have on their everyday life. 
In a local Clarksville history, I found a listing noting that in February 1918 a CESL (Clarksville Equal Suffrage League) meeting was held at the home of Emma Lupton. Then a lovely local volunteer researcher found me images of both Emma Lupton and Lulu Epperson another Clarksville Suffergist. The final icing on my “research cake” was lucking up on an interior photograph of a (sadly un-named) Clarksville home of the period. With the kind permission of theAustinPeayStateUniversityFelixG.WoodwardLibrary,Archives&SpecialCollections I had the final piece of the painting in place. 

I sketched off the basic structure of the room and the lovely old wood marble top table, as my focal point. I positioned the two main characters...Emma Lupton and Lulu Epperson interacting with an un-identified lady. Here I was just feeling my way as to overall composition and colours. I decided that I wanted three younger women grouped in the second room.

Then I began developing the painting along, one section at a time. I wanted to show interactions between the foreground ladies.....

with Lulu Epperson talking animatedly to a smartly dressed friend.....while Emma Lupton, the hostess, fondly looks on at Lulu's enthusiasm. The striped dress Emma Lupton is wearing comes from an old family photo I had of an ancestress posing on a sunny porch.

Aside from the enjoyment I had getting all the bitty details like I wanted them.....the glint of the light off the marble table top and the sheen of the bronze vase holding the yellow roses (also a symbol of the suffragist movement) I added two or three women's suffragist pamphlets and newspapers. In addition I wanted to add a photo credit for the use of the photograph of the home's interior. I did this with help of a bit of computer wizardry. I typed up the photo credit in a computer program, scaled it to fit as a magazine on the painting, “twisted it” perspectively to look like it was laying down on a shelf and printed it out on a sheet of paper. I physically cut out the paper and glued it down onto the canvas, and glazed over it with clear acrylic varnish. 

This was an all together fun painting to work my way through......solving different ways to make it look like what I had seen in my mind's eye. I especially enjoy bringing into view, the small unsung, everyday bits of a BIG historical movement.....one little vignette at a time.

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