From Con­cept to Can­vas

Warren Chang’s new­est paint­ing, Give Us Our Daily Bread, comes to fruition af­ter years of de­vel­op­ment

International Artist - - Contents -

Warren Chang’s new­est paint­ing, Give Us Our Daily Bread, comes to fruition af­ter years of de­vel­op­ment

Agood paint­ing starts with an idea, as op­posed to any ran­dom cir­cum­stance, whether from na­ture or a col­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs. This ar­ti­cle is about a paint­ing born from an idea, or more spe­cific, a ti­tle, and how af­ter years and through a meet­ing of minds, the paint­ing was fi­nally re­al­ized. Some­times, a paint­ing starts with a ti­tle, much like a novel or film might be­gin. Sev­eral years ago, af­ter com­plet­ing a color study, a pa­tron who was in­ter­ested in ac­quir­ing the study, asked if they could change the ti­tle of the paint­ing. Cu­ri­ous, I asked what that might be and she replied Give Us Our Daily Bread, a quote from the scrip­tures of the Bi­ble. I was struck dumb with the words, as I felt these words bet­ter de­scribed the mean­ing of the paint­ing more than I ever in­tended.

I am not a tra­di­tion­ally re­li­gious man, al­though I be­lieve in the good­ness and uni­ver­sal pur­pose that all re­li­gions seem to share. These words seemed to sum­ma­rize a ba­sic plight of man, a strug­gle sim­ply for the sus­te­nance and main­te­nance of life. Ob­sessed with these words, I de­cided to paint what was rep­re­sented in these words.

I had orig­i­nally en­vi­sioned a scene of a field­worker fam­ily, liv­ing in rel­a­tive poverty. I had heard of fam­i­lies liv­ing in des­ig­nated hous­ing prop­er­ties and spent time re­search­ing this sub­ject, only to find this was a rare oc­cur­rence to­day.

I must con­fess, my first at­tempt ended in fail­ure sev­eral years ago. Some­times this hap­pens, not of­ten for­tu­nately, but some­times it does. I aban­doned this paint­ing and idea, un­til years later, I re­ceived a call from a stranger with a pro­posal.

En­ter Bar­getto Win­ery

One day I re­ceived a call from John Bar­getto, of Bar­getto’s Re­gan Es­tate Vine­yards, who shared with me his idea to pro­vide me with his work­ers to pose for a paint­ing he had in mind. He en­vi­sioned a scene of field­work­ers hav­ing a meal at his vine­yard, which was some­thing that oc­curred some­times in the morn­ings prior to work or dur­ing a lunch break. The re­sult­ing paint­ing was to be used as an il­lus­tra­tion on a fu­ture La Vita wine la­bel. For my­self, I would have the op­por­tu­nity to di­rect ac­tual field­work­ers for a paint­ing that seemed to rep­re­sent an idea I had been think­ing about for years.

It just so hap­pened that his idea and my idea co­in­cided. Al­though, I think where it may have dif­fered is he wanted to rep­re­sent the joy he felt the work­ers ex­pressed in their

lives and work, while in my mind, I wanted to rep­re­sent more the truth of their ex­is­tence.

Thumb­nail Sketch and Color Study

I first worked the com­po­si­tional ar­range­ment with a ball­point pen in my sketch­book. Af­ter wait­ing months for the weather to co­op­er­ate, as I re­quired a sunny day to achieve the strong con­trast of light and shadow I de­sired, I fi­nally ar­ranged to come to his vine­yard and di­rected a photography shoot for the in­tended paint­ing. Af­ter ob­tain­ing the nec­es­sary ref­er­ence, I quickly com­pleted a color study paint­ing in oil on a small panel.

Work in Progress

I than trans­ferred my fin­ished draw­ing to the larger fi­nal can­vas, mea­sur­ing 30 by 46 inches and com­pleted an un­der­paint­ing in um­ber, which es­tab­lished both the draw­ing, the ar­range­ment of fig­ures, along with tonal val­ues.

Fin­ished Paint­ing

In com­plet­ing the fin­ished paint­ing, I made var­i­ous changes based from the color study, which I felt were closer to what I in­tended. You’ll no­tice changes in the fig­ures from the study where I de­cided to in­clude chil­dren. If you com­pare it to the study, you’ll no­tice I added a dog and changed the sky in the fi­nal paint­ing as well.

Ex­hibit­ing the Fi­nal Paint­ing

The fi­nal paint­ing was on ex­hibit for the first time at the Cal­i­for­nia Art Club’s 107th an­nual Gold Medal Ex­hi­bi­tion at the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum of Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia, from June 9 to July 1. This venue is of his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance be­tween these two or­ga­ni­za­tions, in that the CAC had orig­i­nally ex­hib­ited the show at this mu­seum an­nu­ally from 1914 to 1938, when it was known as the Los An­ge­les Mu­seum of His­tory, Sci­ence and Art.

Give Us Our Daily Bread, oil on can­vas, 30 x 46" (76 x 117 cm)

Study for Fall Tilling, oil on panel, 8 x 10" (20 x 25 cm)

Color study, oil on can­vas, 8 x 12" (20 x 30 cm)

Un­der­paint­ing in um­ber, oil on can­vas, 30 x 46" (76 x 117 cm)

Study for Fall Tilling, oil on panel, 8 x 10" (20 x 25 cm)

The Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum of Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia, hosted the Cal­i­for­nia Art Club’s 107th an­nual Gold Medal Ex­hi­bi­tion.

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