Sunday, March 31, 2019

New paintings from Skip Lawrence workshop

Last week was spent in a painting workshop at Bon Secours retreat center near Baltimore, studying with Skip Lawrence (  This is something I've done every spring for the past five years.  Always a challenge, always a surprise to see what I end up with.

And, as always, I entered the workshop with the intention of continuing to paint as I always have, and, as always, that changed. 

Above is a painting I did in February. I followed the same steps I explained in my post from February 14th, starting with an under-painting of mechanical shapes, like these...

What I like about the finished painting above is the transparency and complicated layers showing through behind the final details. Before the workshop I prepared twelve panels ranging in size from 8X8 to 12X12, all with the hard-edged mechanical theme in limited color. I thought I would methodically paint all of these with the same routine approach as above, but that didn't happen. 

Every year Skip encourages me to get away from my default iconography of houses, trees, birds, etc. Or at least to integrate them to become more harmonious with the surface treatment of the painting. He stresses concepts such as making sure your paintings have a dominant element (is mostly - fill in the blank - a color, texture, etc.), that there is something in the composition that serves as a compliment to the main theme, and that there is variation (gradation of color, different treatment of edges), to name just a few of his valuable tenets.

Below are the paintings I did over the five days. Some still have remnants of the under-paintings, others have many layers of paint covering up those designs. They are shown here in roughly the order I painted them. You might see some kind of progression as I might not. The first six are 12X12, second six 10X10, last six 8X8. 

Still sticking to my houses, etc. in a landscape, thinking I needed a "focal point" with the hard-edged, dark forms. The surfaces have interest, and the edges show some variety.

I allow for more freedom with the landscape, letting the under-painting suggest the arrangement, staying away from the dark 'focal point".

Not sure about this one. An experiment. Under-painting still evident behind the wash of black gesso. White charcoal pencil for the trees and highlighted forms.

Again, under-painting can be seen, this time with a black wash, warmed with quinacridone gold. Skip had suggested I do something other than what I would normally be comfortable with (I know, don't end a sentence with a preposition, but the correct form sounds so stuffy). Hence! the bright yellow and red, which was eventually covered over and muted.

At this point Skip had me look at paintings by Catherine Liu, to give me ideas about covering parts of painted surfaces and leaving elements of focus, complimentary to the composition. I need to keep working on this...!

Things get simpler, elements start to blend into the surface somewhat. Under-painting disappears.

Skip wasn't crazy about this one, but Judy wouldn't let me do anything else to it.



Enjoying the mark...

Using the under-painting again...

Going for it, with contrast, limited palette, using my marks in a less predictable way...

Abstraction, but with elements of story, which I need...

And back again to subtly, hopefully with a fresh look.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Some new paintings with acrylic and collage

With the exception of this first piece, which is 36" X 24", the paintings here are small, ranging in size from 8" X 8" to 12" X 12", all on 2" deep wood panels, with acrylic, charcoal and paper collage.  I'll be taking them with me to the American Crafts Council show in Baltimore next week.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Nine new paintings, some with cold wax and oil, collage

Cold wax and oil with paper collage 20" X 20"

Each of these paintings started with an acrylic under-painting based on designs from machinery and mechanical objects, as I've done before. 

I used a simple palette of white, titanium white, yellow ochre, burnt sienna and black. 

I used the forms in the under-painting to determine the final composition. The painting below is what was painted over the painting above. You can still see some of the elements of the under-painting. 

I covered the under-painting with a light yellow ochre, using patches of paper labels to mask out the yellow ochre and reveal some of the under-painting.

Why did I do this? I wanted to create a deep and interesting surface. 

Cold wax and oil with paper collage 24" X 18"

 Cold wax and oil with paper collage and charcoal 20" X 20"

 Cold wax and oil with paper collage and charcoal 20" X 20"

 Cold wax and oil with paper collage and charcoal 20" X 20"

 Cold wax and oil with paper collage and charcoal 24" X 18"

 Acrylic with mixed media and paper collage 24" X 24"

 Acrylic and mixed media with paper collage 24" X 24"

Cold wax and oil with paper collage and charcoal 12" X 12"