Conan Commission, part 2

by Petar Meseldzija

The underpainting – This is always a fun part for me. It is relatively relaxing because I don’t have to think about the color, or the brushwork. My only concerns during this stage are the FORM and the VALUE arrangements.  I find this moment very exciting and inspiring, for the world of the future painting starts to reveal itself for the first time. You see a kind of magic evolve in front of you, as the white shapeless gesso surface turns into a suggestive two-dimensional world. True magic, indeed. But that’s the essence of Art, after all.  In its core, it still echoes the ancient magical ritual.

These are the colors I use for my underpainting. From left to right: titanium white, yellow ochre, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, burnt umber, permanent red-violet and cobalt blue.

The underpainting in progress.

The finished underpainting, and a detail.

The real work starts from this point on. I leave the relative safety of the “harbour”, and “sail” towards the unpredictable open waters of the “Ocean”. Before that I might address Minerva ( the Roman goddess of poetry, wisdom, art, magic, etc.) in a quick prayer, asking her to help me and my little “ship”, to reach the other side safe and sound.
Each painting is (should be) a new adventure, a unique act of discovery.  

As Marcel Proust, a famous French author and critic, said: “ The only true voyage of discovery … would be not to visit new landscapes, but to possess other eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them sees”. (Also often seen translated in the shortened form: “The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes)”.