I am finally taking some steps forward with this project. I wouldn’t say that I had a breakthrough, as much as I started looking at what I already had in a different light. I sat down the other night with my husband to brainstorm by talking out the themes that I was interested in. We came back to the initial idea of a smiling/placid face on an anguished body, only this time we talked about what I could do stylistically in terms of my approach to drawing. The idea would be to have highly contrasting drawing styles between the face and the body. The face would be accurately rendered and realistic, while the body would be very violently drawn, with a strong sense of gesture and movement, verging on abstraction, extremely expressionistic, almost as if the body were tearing itself apart. I started to get excited about potentially using tools like palette knives and brushes (as opposed to just my hands) to apply the etching ink to get these kinds of effects. The approach would be closer to painting than drawing, which would be very new and different for me. I could play with the transition from the face into the body, sometimes making the transition smooth and slow, while other times it could be abrupt. Another component would be the figures eventually being swallowed by darkness, to represent time and moving deeper into the night.
There’s no way to know if this will work until I do some sketches, but already I’m feeling excited about the possibilities. I know that this project would challenge me in a number of ways, which is exactly what I’m looking for.