by Jane Conner-ziser Published 01/04/2012
Finally the dove! Again I researched paintings from history to see how the Holy Spirit was portrayed as a dove and found several options - doves standing in the sky wearing crowns, doves flying up, flying down with wings spread over the Earth, holding laurel in their feet or beaks - lots of freedom with the dove! I decided to paint the dove flying forward, with wings outstretched, no laurel. In addition, I decided to go with Cipro's approach with the angels and make the dove part shape, part cloud. This was accomplished by adding a few identifying strokes with white, dark brownish grey, bluish grey and orange, then shaping and blending using Blender/Grainy Water.
At this point the painting was nearly complete but was missing one important element - light. I went over the entire painting one more time using the Screen and Multiply blending modes with Layer Masks and finished it up by taking the image back into Photoshop where I added a beam of light thanks to a lovely special effects brush created by Obsidian Dawn.
The printing and installation of this restoration is another story in itself! I knew the painting was going to be large but I had no idea that Gabriele Piero intended to send it to Florence for output onto a canvas 5.5 x 30 METRES (I thought it was going to be 14 FEET - I need to learn more Italian!). The canvas was 18 by just over 42 feet and weighed almost as much as I do. Gabriele's team built a special stretcher bar that could be expanded upon securing the canvas to the ceiling, and accomplished the installation on rather wobbly scaffolding. A small bit of damage was repaired using acrylic paint mixed with gloss.
The installation and Gabriele's team of crazy Italian dreamers can be seen on my Facebook
www.facebook.com/janecz in my photo album Chiesa Della Liberia. Copies of the painting may be purchased through my website www.janeconner-ziser.com where I donate 50% of the profit to Gabriele's church in Saviano.
It was a challenging job, a lot of painting and an amazing experience to participate in the restoration of this treasured painting. Honestly there were no special brushes, no sophisticated tips or techniques - just patience, respect for a small artist who painted the original with devotion and the educated brush strokes of another small artist who wanted to give something back to the people and a community that had enriched her life with their friendship.
I love knowing that the members of the church can have a copy in their homes as Gabriele is selling it, too, and it's pretty overwhelming to see how big the final canvas is - those crazy Napolitanos! I was screaming "NO WAY!!!!" when I saw it! Over the top, delightful and full of life, they have made my life huge and I love them! Grazie Gabriele, grazie all.
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