Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A MAJOR CHALLENGE FOR ME!

This is a photo of Logan Memorial Church on the island of Chuuk (formerly Truk of Truk Lagoon, diving fame), in Micronesia.

I have been asked by the islanders to do a painting of this church from this picture,(though I have been there several times and seen it for myself.) It was built some time after World War II. I have been unable to find the exact date of its foundation. I'm going to work on that as records of activities on the island are few and far between and need to kept as part of their history. Unfortunately, the church was taken down this past month because it was in need of more repairs than it was worth. The tropics are very hard on buildings. Three hundred inches of rain a year and constant high humidity with temperatures in the nineties most of the year, took its toll. So a new church is now being built.

But of course the old building held many, many significant memories for the people of the island. Logan was one of the first missionaries to the island of Chuuk. He arrived in 1884 when the island was still the home of fierce warriors who spent much of their time at war with one another.

The people of Chuuk are today wonderfully happy and peaceful people. Last summer Steoshe and his wife Diana, members of this church, visited us here in Carlsbad. They saw some of my paintings and asked me if I would do one of their church, knowing that it would soon be demolished. Of course I agreed but didn't think any more about it -- until two weeks ago when they asked me again and sent this photo of the church for me to copy from.

At first I thought it wouldn't be too difficult and I agreed to do a painting quite a bit larger than those I usually do. (This is not a business arrangement. It is my gift to the people of Chuuk. ) I agreed to do it in my style of water colors, which is more like most people use acrylics. However, if you click on this photo and see it enlarged you will see that there is a lot of intricate decoration on the church building. So sad that it could not be preserved but that's the way of things over there. The plan is to hang the painting in the entrance of the new church. That is if I can do it justice!
So this is my challenge!!

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Fortunately I have just recently started doing more in water colors than I have for over a year, and that was a good thing! I completed the painting below about two weeks ago.

I call this one "Fisherman's Cottage" and based it on several photographs from which I took bits and pieces and then put together to make this picture. I like it because of the subject, but I'm a little bit unhappy with it because it has a couple of things wrong with it. For instance, the cottage is tipping backwards and somehow I just couldn't make it stand up straight. Now I have posted it, I see that the problem is because the window and door are tilted and I set the edge of the house parallel to the door and window. Notice the lighthouse and the fisherman. This painting is 5"X7".

When I have finished the Logan Memorial Church I will post it so you can see how it came out. In the mean time, my sister arrives tomorrow, retreating from the snowy wilds of Canada. She will be here for two weeks and I have actually persuaded her to try her hand at painting and drawing while she is here. We are going to have fun!

7 comments:

claude said...

Doing a drawing of this church is more difficult than the prison door.
I like very much the drowing you show us today.

RuneE said...

You have set quite a challenge for youself - that does not look like an easy job, but judging from you "Fisherman's cottage" you are fully up to it.

Thank you for the nice comments!

Abe Lincoln said...

I would think this will be a difficult thing to paint in watercolors.

Cindybrown said...

I love old churches and old barns. I very much enjoyed your painting. I recently took up TRYING to paint. I tried the watercolors, but it was alot more difficult than I thought. You did a beautiful job!! Good luck with the painting of the church!

Rosy said...

May I suggest something here for you?

When I am given an assignment on something new for me to paint, I normally take it in three steps at a time. I normally start off by just studying the structure at first, I allow myself at least one week to just do that by just looking at the subject, then I spend about a couple of days or so just sketching out the subject, then I take it to the final stage of painting the subject. Anyways that is how I used to do it when I have in the past taken on assignments.

That church is very beautiful, too bad it had to be torn down, I wonder if the new church will come close to looking like this old church.

ChrisJ said...

Great advice, Rosy. Thanks for the info. That's pretty well, how I do it. Although I don't spend as much time sketching it in as I mostly use my brush for the details rather than penciling in details. I mostly use pencil for outlining the shape and marking the exact place I want to put things. But actually I start out by gridding the whole thing. I don't know if this is the correct thing to do but it just the method I have used over the past few years.

I'm afraid the new church will not look anything like this one. The economics of the island are really in bad shape.

Sandy said...

I'll be looking forward to seeing the church! I think your watercolor is beautiful and I can't figure out how people do such good work on such a small space 5 x 7...that sounds so hard to me.