Party at the Picnic is a new painting and print in my series, Visionaries: My Tribute to the Innovators of Fine Art. In this image, I honor the work of the French post-impressionist painter Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859-1891). Party at the Picnic re-imagines his 1886 painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, a masterwork that took Seurat two years to complete.
Every museum store in the world carries postcards of their most popular works. I have dozens of these cards featuring every style of painting imaginable.
In this new series, Visionaries: My Tribute to the Innovators of Fine Art, I explore the artistry of these painters - marrying their iconic images with both abstract backgrounds and ultra-realistic still life objects to create something entirely new.
The challenge with every painting in my Visionaries series is how to recreate the original artwork using methods that reflect the actual techniques used by the artists themselves. However with this work, Seurat’s techniques were a true bedevilment! Party at the Picnic is one of the most difficult paintings I’ve ever done.
Allow me to explain. The original painting was created on a massive canvas with a short-bristled brush that Seurat used to stab the paint into dots on the canvas. The problem with my miniature of his work is that there are no tiny brushes with stiff, short stippling hairs. Rather, I have fine brushes with long bristles - forcing me to use ultra-small strokes to replicate the feel of the original. It was a laborious process - but the only one I could use that would yield authentic results. Quite tedious, but very rewarding!
In my version, dainty cocktail parasols float around the taped postcard as if they were carried on the spring breeze. They add a touch of whimsy befitting a picnic at the park. Each one floats above the image, giving a windswept feeling to the piece. I fussed with the lighting for hours to get the shadows “just so”, just to create an visceral airborne effect,
If you would like to see me in the studio working on Party at the Picnic, I invite you to check out my video on Instagram: Party at the Picnic on Instagram.