On the Process

My working methodology is process oriented. Typically, a particular issue or theme will come to mind while browsing through the rather extensive bank of images I’ve accumulated over the years. These files contain images and segments of text clipped from magazines, pages torn from old comic books, movie stills, and forgotten family snap shots bought at flea markets. Narratives emerge as I mentally juxtapose divergent imagery while sifting through piles of folders. These narratives are based purely on speculation, often focusing on the issues of relationships, gender roles, and how the portrayal of those roles have changed in the postwar era.

The process often begins with a rough collage to establish content and composition. I’ll then make a black and white line drawing from the collage to refine or accent certain details and to resolve compositional issues. Once the drawing is resolved, several photocopies are made on drafting vellum, usually two thirds the size of the original drawing. Working with prismacolor pencils on the photocopied drawings allows me to establish quick color sketches in a minimal amount of time. When a particular color variation is decided upon, a more detailed color study will be rendered in acrylic paint on bristol board. At this stage, the refining process becomes more critical; paying particular attention to specific choices of hue, value and saturation with regard to color, as well as line weight in the drawing component. As the study evolves, color is mixed in sufficient quantities to paint the final large canvas and a color chart is created. Since I often work on several canvasses at a time, the color chart is indispensable in assuring the painting remains true to the study, although occasionally, small details and colors get tweaked during the final process. When the painting is completed, the color chart is dated and filed for future reference in the event the painting ever needs to be repaired.

Kevin T. Kelly
14 July 2003