|Meme Na Anak, 2011|
8"x10" watercolor on paper
Watercolor by jojo sabalvaro tan
Commissioned by Dr. Shari L. Sabalvaro
My cousin, a doctor in the Philippines made it her mission and advocacy to promote breastfeeding in the Philippines. she traveled North and South, East and West to every region in the Philippines to train mothers about the benefits and techniques of breastfeeding. She requested that I paint a mother breastfeeding to display in her office. This is the painting I created for her.
Many have asked me how long it takes me to paint a piece. This particular piece took me two days, from the time I laid pencil to paper and signed the work. It was done on Strathmore 140# weight watercolor paper using my medium of choice nowadays, watercolor. What took long, is the preparation prior to when I make a mark on the paper for the painting. I puzzled at whether the painting should be in the renaissance or medieval themes I am normally drawn to or try something different. In the end, I decided on a Filipino ethnic theme, an Ifugao mother breastfeeding her child. I looked through numerous breastfeeding photos on the Internet for inspiration.
On a side note, during my research I found out that many photos and artwork of women breastfeeding have been banned as obscene from some sites on the Internet, including Facebook, Just to avoid all the rigamarole and hoopla, I will not be sharing this particular blogpost on Facebook or any other social networking sites. I will share it with my friends via email. You are welcome to share this post with others, but please consult 'Prudence' first (trying to be funny here...ha..ha) so as not to offend some folks' sensibilities.
Finally, after several weeks of mulling, I was ready to sketch. I would have several ideas for paintings percolating in my brain for weeks or even years. I made several small sketches until I had one that I liked enough to use. On these sketches, I play with values and sometimes test out colors. I prepare a cartoon of my final drawing either on drawing paper, tracing paper or vellum. This cartoon will be the actual size of the painting. I tried painting this on Yupo, a synthetic paper made of 100% polypropylene, but was unsuccessful as I was unaccustomed to using this type of surface. So I restarted using watercolor paper.
I try to size my paintings to fit ready-made mats and frames, if possible. This saves money eventually, as you do not need to have custom mats and frames which tend to be costly.
A cartoon (from the Italian "cartone" and Dutch word "karton", meaning strong, heavy paper or pasteboard) is a full-size drawing made on sturdy paper as a study or modello for a painting, stained glass or tapestry. Cartoons were typically used in the production of frescoes, to accurately link the component parts of the composition when painted on damp plaster over a series of days (giornate).Such cartoons often have pinpricks along the outlines of the design; a bag of soot was then patted or "pounced" over the cartoon, held against the wall to leave black dots on the plaster ("pouncing").
I remember employing this early method of transfer during my childhood in order to transfer embroidery designs unto cloth. Back then, instead of soot, we used starch tinted with a bluing agent. The blue pin pricks disappear in the first wash. These days, I transfer my drawing from the cartoon to the watercolor paper using Saran transfer paper and when done lightly it also disappears almost completely as you paint. I then make appropriate adjustments to the drawing itself prior to applying any paint.
Hope you like it, Shari. Now, how do I get this to the Philippines?
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