This animated image starts with a tiny woodcut illustration that Emily had for years on a bulletin board. One day she decided to sketch a drawing inspired by the woodcut, and not long after decided to try a sketch on canvas. That was about a year and a half ago, and since then Emily has worked, off and on and in stages, until completion.
The individual images that make up the animation are below.
I don't want to give the impression that Emily starts one painting, then works steadily and continuously until it is finished. Emily's process is steady enough, but does not move in a straight line. She often starts several paintings at once, and then moves from painting to painting. A canvas sketch may be rejected and painted over, or faced against the wall and left to "season," perhaps permanently.
Emily paints in phases, roughly three months on and three months off. After an "off" phase she may decide to move in a completely different direction, starting another painting rather than finishing one, or completely changing an unfinished painting. By the time she does finish a painting, she is usually close to finishing several.
In the painting studio Emily says:
"I never know what I am doing."
"It's like a giant painful game of chess."
"I make my color decisions from my abdomen."
"I'm not a real painter."
"I have no idea how I have ever finished a painting."
It's in response to this last statement that I have assembled this documentary.
Emily's paintings move through definite stages, whether she's aware of it or not. Day of the Dead shows these stages quite nicely, and I have detailed them below. These are the individual images that make up the animation.
Notice that the two chickens have become a dog and a cat. The cactus and wall-hanging have been replaced by elaborate curtains, and the chairs have disappeared, though the couple are still seated.