Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Twin" Paintings in Stages

Here are two paintings I did together, side-by-side...another pair that I call "twins". What follows are 8 pictures of the stages that the paintings went through before completion.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The painting that talked back

Here's the painting I was making such a fuss about in my last post, the one I said I was working on that felt so special.

It still feels special. I've been sitting with it for the past few days to see if it wanted anything else, but it doesn't seem to and so it is done. I could have added tiny details forever. It is already full of them. Probably not easy to see here, but maybe in the details below.

Much of the background color was applied with large, flat scrapers from the hardware store.
Then, relying on intuition, I found random shapes and figures in all the layers of textures and accented them with color or line.

The painting is acrylic and charcoal on paper, 40" X 40". It's not pretty. And it probably won't end up in anyone's living room. But it is totally me. Painting it was, for me, for the first time, an experience of having a true connection with what was happening. An involvement, a dialogue.

Why do I think this painting is successful? I feel that it has a cohesiveness over the whole composition. All parts are strong and equal. I'm drawn to the texture and build up of space on the surface. And I love the teeny details that draw in the viewer, inviting further exploration and discovery. I hope you get a chance to see it in person.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Two paintings, quite different

This painting is the largest I've done in this style. Acrylic and charcoal on watercolor paper, it's 40" X 40". It underwent the usual process, enduring many layers with scraping and smearing in between. I like it enough, it is my default tree motif, after all. But it falls dangerously into the category of pleasing the crowd. It represents, to me, a safe approach and one that isn't necessarily authentic. I don't want to dismiss it because I do love the layering and texture. It's just that the paintings I've worked on since completing this one have felt different. They have been offering a dialogue back as I paint them. They've been letting me get involved. 

This painting is 14" X 20", acrylic, charcoal and ink, and an example of what happens when I'm thinking less about "pleasing the crowd" and painting more authentically (or being truer to what I want the painting to look like). It is a step toward what my second 40" x 40" painting is turning out to be. I'm working on that one now and experiencing, for the first time since I started painting this way last fall, a real satisfaction that what I'm creating is really mine. It's an awesome feeling. Hard to explain. Something like having 100 children and they all seem like sweet, likable strangers. And then you have one that, when it looks back at you, you see yourself. 

So I promise to introduce you to her as soon as she tells me she's ready for the world! In the meantime, here's her not-so-distant sibling, full of intriguing details and "serious whimsy".

Friday, April 10, 2015

5 square paintings and one rectangle

The grid (from the last post) was starting to feel a little confining and even confusing. It was hard to make the composition work. And I didn't feel as though I could smear and scrape as is my wont. 

I stayed with the square, for the most part, with these studies and returned to an old inspiration for help with composition. I cut up a photo from the newspaper into 1 inch squares and used the abstract lines to give me something to work with. 
 14X14 Arcylic, charcoal and colored pencil. Painted over many, many times.

 8X8 Arcylic, charcoal and colored pencil. Many layers.

  8X8 Arcylic, charcoal and colored pencil. Many layers.

  8X8 Arcylic, charcoal and colored pencil. Many layers.

  8X8 Arcylic, charcoal and colored pencil. And again, many layers.

8X12  Arcylic and charcoal. Many paintings underneath, starting with a large, black, rather sinister looking cat behind white, climbing vines.  

2 paintings using the grid

Exploring the grid some more, continuing with the idea from two posts ago. Still working with a build up of texture. 
 14X14 acrylic, charcoal and colored pencil
12X12 acrylic, charcoal and colored pencil

Two paintings ~ The Ides of March

I forgot to show you these. I painted them on the first day of the Skip Lawrence workshop, March 15th. They are both 14X20, acrylic, charcoal, pastel and colored pencil with some added papers.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Exploring (combining the old and the new)

It has been a little over a week since the Skip Lawrence workshop. It's taking a while to figure out how to take what I learned there and apply it to what I feel is mine.

The work I was doing before was fun. I liked it, but I felt it needed to go further. Working with the idea of texture in the workshop felt like the next step that was needed. So now, as an exploration, I'm staying away from my "default" landscape with trees format and thinking of depth and texture first. Then going back to my favorite imagery to add details without making the painting about that.

This painting is 14" X 20". For most of the time I was working on it I didn't know if I was going to get to where I liked it. I left it for a while and did another quick silly cat painting and when I came back to this one I did just a few more things to it and felt quite satisfied. Of course I like the texture and depth. There are many layers, the first being gesso which I scored while it was still wet with the end of a brush, so that when it dried and I painted over it and scrubbed the surface, the scored lines appeared and determined where I painted in the other details.

I'm happy with this direction. I feel more involved with the process than with the earlier work, more invested, more authentic. I have a bunch more paintings lined up with scored, textured backgrounds waiting for their surface details. I'm just going to go with these experiments and see where they lead.