Saturday, September 29, 2007

patient and subtle

not moving as quickly as I would like to, but that is how this type of painting goes; a few moments of inspiration and spontenaity, then many hours of looking and waiting for the paint to settle and dry. The work challenges me to develop a more sophisticated eye and pushes me to find a better balance between making ideas/perceptions obvious and allowing the subtlties to float to the surface.

this one is starting to clear up better. I added another thin layer since last time (actually 2 layers). The background red is starting to peak through like I want it to....

this one is thick enough that it won't go completely clear, but there will still be transparency so hints of the bottom-most layers. it will clear up more than it is right now,however.

I like how this one is evolving. I didn't like it at first, then really enjoyed the effect with the first thick layer, when the red filled in the sweeping grooves to give more feeling to the motion and add some pronounced depth. Now, it's getting more complex, but the contrast is growing more subtle and not as simplistic. I'm anxious to see what happens over the next month with this one.

I think I overdid the red interference layer on this one. It almost completely hid the first two layers. I'm patiently waiting for the white part to become completely clear to see if I am right. The trick with this piece will be to view it from many different angles so that they light can bounce off the texture on the bottom layer. If the light is at a certain angle, the surface just glares and you cannot see into the painting. I suppose that is a perfect reflection of how water behaves with light (pun very much intended)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

the significance of nothingness

* unprimed canvas as the ground to imply the lack of an intentional ground?

* primed or very lightly ainted works as a contrast to the figure which is thickly painted (or very worked)

* the significance of nothingness as a background...
is it unimportant or super-important?

In one viewpoint it could mean that the nothingness is merely neglect or disregard for what would be there in traditional pictorial space because it is not important or relevant to the content of the picture; sometimes a concious removal to be sure that there are fewer distraction.

Another perspective is that the nothingess, by stark contrast to the rest of the picture, stands out and becomes the most important part of the work.

Speaking less abstractly, in the wave paintings, the wave can be the most important element, thus making it a symbol/sign,so it is all that is needed (no need to place it in some kind of pictorial context). Or the unworked blank space could be the nothingness or mysterious unknown, just like when in the trough of a big wave, and you getg a glimpse of the sky, but not any grounding reference points. Same can be said for a horizon line; on the ocean or on a river. What is beyond the horizon? Something? Nothing? Difficult to tell when you can't see it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

woodcut, etching, or drawing...

this, obviously, is a drawing. I often draw with printmaking techniques in mind; not so much as an intention to make a study for a print, but woodcuts and etchings are a favorite medium of mine because of the resulting aesthetic. Therefore, the techniques are in the back of my mind when drawing.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Buried Treasure

When the sun is high, sky is bright, and the water clear, you can see shapes in the depths. Sometimes the shapes are floating just under the surface. Other times there is something special lying on the bottom.

As Fall approaches, I am reminded that the treasure could be the glimpse of an orange/red maple leaf gently floating beneath reflective surface, dancing in the lazy whirlpools that spin off rocks in the river. For anglers, the treasure is the distorted sight of a prized fish. Children (and me too sometimes) become giddy with excitement when they spot a shiny stone beneath the currents.

Treasures are not always easy to spot. The water's surface reflects light and color of the surrounding world. Sediment and life cloud the water. The water itself distorts our vision. But, if you look closely, you can still get a glimpse of treasures in the water.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Archaeology and record-keeping

Even with the best records and notation, future generations will not be able to see the entire picture that describes our story. We can note every moment, comment on everything we experience, and still only create a summary record of our existence. In many instances, that is exactly what artists are addressing. They are making notes. They are creating records; creating artifacts for the future. Text has a limited ability to describe experience. Visual artists make attempts to describe experience with a different vocabulary and still can only describe pieces.

Archaeology attempts to assemble the pieces that they find and create a larger picture that will tell the story. They make assumptions and guesses as they gather clues and find more artifacts. The most comprehensively told story, with the largest, most complete record is still far from being absolutely complete. The problem is exasperated by the low-fidelity with which most messages are transmitted through time.

I have a sculptor friend in who's work Time plays a major role. His constructions fall apart easily. He does not seem to mind. Further, he seems to enjoy the decay and chance to change the work while holding onto the original idea. It is a recapitulation of an idea, but not a copy. I have watched him work like an archaeologist as he carefully disassembles parts of the deteriorating artifact (sculpture), attempting to remember his original intent and inspiration as he reconstructs the piece.

My work, lately, has relied heavily on keeping a record of the work as it progresses. Each layer of paint has varying degrees of transparency so that the earlier layer can still be seen (if only partially). With each succesive layer, no matter how transparent, the earlier ones fade and become part of an ever-increasingly cryptic message.

the process continues

Here are the same four paintings after some time and more work.....

This one is not quite this dark, but you get the idea. I've added accents to the peaks of the liquid medium, and placed more acrylic on top of the left side to bury the orange part in some more turbulence. It will grow increasingly transparent and you'll be able to see what is underneath much better in a month or two.

Here is the one that had a big blob of medium dropped on it in the last post. Notice how it's cleared and become translucent. It will not be totally transparent because of the metal flakes suspended in it, but the colors and some vague shapes from the underlying layers will still be revealed. Next step is to dull down the orange ground so it is not so overpowering, but I still want to do that in a way that allows the brightness to peak through in some spots.

Below, the medium has started to clear,and I've added a red transparent paint to fill in and accentuate the troughs of medium, emphasizing the movement and flow of the painting.

And here is the "reef rash" one that has been covered with another layer of paint. I am thinking of the process on this particular work as a healing wound. Now the protective scab has formed. Next, more flexible liquid skin will grow.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A process in painting.

these four paintings are in various stages of development so my process is revealed. Moving water is still the stepping-off point for these paintings, but elements of my own wonder about the universe as well as my personal belief in the connection between water and flesh slip into the work as they are made.

ethereal light, transparency, movement, the cosmos in the water

this one is purposely rought, and the photo was taken just after some acrylic was dumped on it. Kind of looks like vomit. The acrylic will clear and crack,and make an interesting texture.

fresh paste, that will become transparent as it dries. sometimes the water feels this thick, so I like that the medium is thick and opaque at the beginning, and with more time, it becomes clear and more gentle

some reef rash looking stuff that will heal and eventually turn into a lovely deep wave after layers and layers of work and acrylic are added