Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Saga of "Exit"

It came from Out of the Past-  from 1947, to be exact. This scene from the famous film noir inspired images in my head that I couldn't shake.



So, in April 2021, I took a video of myself in costume walking down the stairs. Then I created a large drawing from that video. From that I developed a painting... But, like many worthwhile endeavors in life, there were twists, turns, and backtracks along the way.

I love working off of colored, textured grounds. So, in early May, I got off to an interesting start by using purple watercolor and allowing it to drip down the panel.

I sized the image of the drawing in photoshop, printed it out on sheets of paper, and transferred a light image of it onto a panel. Then, using the drawing and the photographs as a reference, I started the painting.

I spent a bunch of time creating a wood grain effect on the stairs, thinking the reddish tone would enhance my purple shadows.

It became clear that something was missing. Something needed to be in the upper left of the composition... I searched about on line and found this awesome exit sign. (Here the name of the painting came into being.)


I also "closed up" the space, by making sure all walls, stairs and shadows were touching each other, enclosing the figure in with no way to "escape".

Break time.

This all happened from early May to late June. I set Exit aside. I worked on other projects, such as The Hanged Man and Watch.  

There may have been a beach trip or two as well...



All the while, I kept looking at Exit out of the corner of my eye... June ended... July ran its course... 

I kept thinking... this could be better. 

It's flat.

It doesn't have the glossy dark depth I had envisioned...

It needs...       blue.

Here I am, paintbrush in mouth, glazing a layer of Prussian blue over my painting. 

I also repainted the exit sign and made it larger. 

I changed her shoes from black to white. 

I even painted over the precious wood grain stairs I had worked so hard on.

Then, after all this, I realized the exit sign was no longer needed. In fact, it had become a distraction. Now that I had all my moody blues creating atmosphere, I wanted the woman to be the focus, as if a spotlight were shining on her. So, using a razor blade, I scratched it out. 

But what about my awesome exit sign? Would I have to change the title of my painting?

With a tiny scrap of red paper and a bit of tape, I was able to see where to put my lovely vintage exit sign.

As I write this, the exit sign has been redone for a FORTH time- ⁠

Will this be my final move? Is the saga of Exit over once and for all???⁠

Finally, finally, I believe it is done. It started in May, and ran off and on until September.

©lesliepetersonsapp Exit

We live in a world of expediency, instant gratification and digital wizardry. But along the way, there has been a growing appreciation of the slow. For example, slow foods, artisanal cheese, vintage wine, and hand-made crafts are all important social and financial movements. 

By sharing the process of my art, I hope to celebrate the slow and deliberate. Just like life, many artistic pursuits take a long and winding road. Part of what makes art, art, is that the artist takes the time to follow that road wherever it leads.


Bridget said...

This is so wonderful!! I definitely appreciate your approach more after reading this.

Leslie Peterson Sapp said...

Thank you!

Kim S Joy said...

Wow, love the backstory! Thank you for taking us through the process.

Leslie Peterson Sapp said...

Thanks, Kim, I'm always happy to see I'm not the only one who finds the process of artistic decision making fascinating!