The Creation of "Bite Me"
Before I begin telling the story of this particular painting, I wanted to shed some light on Alexa while when were growing up.
As kids, Alexa was drawing and practicing her hand-writing whenever she could. She became everyone's designated Sign Maker, especially for our No Trespassing signs we hung outside our hideout in the attic. She drew spooky, melting letters in hopes of intimidating our parents from penetrating our secret lair.
While we watched sitcoms as a family, she'd have her sketchbook on her lap with a small Spongebob Squarepants sticker stuck to the page as reference.
Her talent was evident to us all and before she even became a teenager, we knew that she'd become an artist someday.
I am proud to be writing this Blog to showcase such a miraculous piece by my baby sister.
I hope you enjoy.
How it Began
As you may remember, Alexa was commissioned to do her own version of Marilyn Monroe in an Andy Warhol style. The owner of the original wanted it to be 5' x 5' and the canvas that Alexa purchased for it came in a pack of two.
So here she was with an extra blank canvas the size of half her house.
She knew she needed to use it before a sharp object found it, but what? What could she paint at such a large scale?
For artists, it isn't uncommon for them to have a folder of saved images as inspiration. Alexa was scrolling through hers when she stumbled across one she saved of a woman biting a bullet.
As soon as she saw the image the second time, she knew exactly what her extra canvas was going to be used for.
To get started, all she had to do was draw the outline in pencil. This is something I still can't understand; how does she free-hand such a large image so precisely?!
Just like her childhood Spongebob drawings, her pencil drawing of the lips and bullet were spot-on.
Time for Paint
First, was getting the red base coat for the lips and that wasn't easy.
"Red is the hardest color to work with because you can't lighten it like you do other colors. It turns pink if you add white so whatever red you start with, that is your light red. From there, you can only darken with blues and purples."
Next was filling the bullet in and around the lips to get the skin tone started. Shadows were added around the bottom lip and under the bullet.
The painting was starting to look like something at this point so she had to post it on Instagram. Duh!
After she added the first section of skin tones, she decided to change the background to make the bright red and gold pop.
This was when she grabbed the black and white and started blending in a pretty charcoal.
First layer of gray was down and I think she made a good choice, don't you?
Since most of the base coats were finished, now it was time to add more gloss to the lips.
"I was surprised at how much white I needed to make the lips look extra glossy" said Alexa.
It was unnatural for her to leave such large blocks of white unblended, but she wanted to step outside her norm and try something different.
Salvador Dali has always been an inspiration for Scott and Alexa; even me. His surrealism and creativity in his work make him an idol to many.
To pay tribute to such a Master, she made her painting look like the bullet and lip gloss were melting off the canvas.
The only problem was that she wasn't happy with the look of the drop falling from the back of the bullet.
In her opinion, it looked too bulky compared to the rest of the image.
After three attempts repainting that pesky drop, she finally got her desired look! Three smaller drips falling from the bullet were just what the painting needed!
One of the final steps was finishing the background by adding texture.
She did so by using a 5-inch house paintbrush to unevenly spread the oil paint.
Now, time to sign this 60" x 60" Original Painting!
After almost exactly one year, Alexa had finished her second five-foot original!
It is currently hanging proudly in Jacobs Gallery in Deadwood. So if you're in the area, be sure to experience it yourself. It's impossible to miss it and if Alexa is there, be sure to tell her you read its story.
The Finished Painting, "Bite Me"
by Alexa Jacobs
Click the image for information.
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Thank you for reading,