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.