Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sculptural Paintings

Despite the ongoing racket and activity of Jim's and my roof being torn off and rebuilt by our handyman and roofing crew this last several days, I still creep along at a steady pace with my painting, whenever I can sneak down to the studio. Often this happens from 6 o'clock until 8:30 or 9PM. Jim and I installed some new lighting in the studio, so now I can see with breathtaking clarity the details and colors of my work! And the mistakes!! Yow.

The Golden Modeling Paste I used on the series of Cuneiform and Cave Painting pieces that now hang at Olympic Cellars Winery, I've started using sculpturally. I mean, painting the paste on with palette knifes to create more than just textures. Certainly a good marriage of my old and my new career skills!  

The above paintings are titled, "Blue Laurel" and "Nomadic Couple". The faces of "Nomadic Couple" weren't exactly easy to whip out with the palette knife, so dental tools were employed to carve and refine their delicate features. 

I love how the initial image on the board flows out like a dream image. And as I've said previously, it's safer to not judge it, and try to "fix" it. Afterward, sometimes after several days, the painting strikes me with a message. Maybe a metaphor that has meaning to me.  And sometimes the meaning eludes me, as it's perhaps intended for someone else.  These works, like my sculptures, are alive. They find their own way through the world, bring something to someone else. Like R2D2. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

"My Father's Sacred Ashes"

Another painting finished, using the Crackle Paste. I see so much online and on Facebook regarding "Intuitive Painting", and wondered what the heck that was.  The funny thing is, I've been working like that for a very long time.  It occurred to me that my sculpture has been that for decades, and now my painting fits that description, pretty much.  If it's what I think it is.  In my case, I simply get into the "zone" and put on canvas, board or paper impulsive imagery. Usually the first thing that comes to mind is the best one. The moment I stop to wonder about whether that idea is appropriate or what it means, or question the impulse and try to make it "better", it goes sour. Looks lame. And usually, when I wait expectantly, I get a title. Or often it will plop into my head as I am finishing the painting. I've given up wondering what the title means, or if others are going to expect an explanation. Years ago at gallery openings, when patrons asked what inspired me to sculpt what they saw on the pedestals, or what a title means, I finally got to the point I would shrug.  Strangely, most were pretty happy with that. Some nodded mysteriously, like we were both party to an intriguing secret. 

Maybe we are.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New Work, "Serious Painting"

Recently I discovered through a friend, a brilliant artist whom I know only through Facebook, a Golden medium I didn't know about.  It's called Modeling Paste, and comes in a flexible version, for canvas or paper, and a version that's only for hard surfaces.  I like them both. But the hard version is a little more fun, and I've begun painting on hardboard surfaces, anyway.  After the gesso is dry, I trowel on the paste, and let it set for a couple days. It can be carved or sanded, and stains beautifully. I've used FW Acrylic Inks on them, mostly.  

On the heels of this wonderful discovery, I woke up with a dream image of sort of Human figure cuneiform images in my mind.  You know that moment when you're just becoming conscious and there's this last "stamp" of image that appears, not connected to a dream at all? I took it as an imprint from the Muse herself, and went with it.  Why not? So the first image above sports the female versions on the top and the male below.  Well, I only woke up seeing the male versions, to be truthful, but when I laid the pen to paper, later, the female came quite readily. The female second from the right appears to be pregnant, and holds a lamp, together with her sister to the left. The males always seem to be dancing, ceremonially, and some hold staffs, with two matching, side by side. 

In the second image, the painting has fossil/cave painting figures, that seem to be flowing into the depths of a cave.  I know if I try to interpret these, I'd be wrong, so I'll leave that to the viewer!  

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Crackled Earth, Suspended Trees

What a relief it is that our sulky, hot-tempered El Nino has taken his toys and gone home, leaving us waiting for what his sister has in mind for us, the rest of the year. She is more prone to tearful rages, but is often more cool and aloof.  We'll see.  Looks like she has already started her gentle rains in our Pacific Northwest.

I have been playing more seriously with Golden textural mediums, acrylic bases for paintings on hardboard surfaces, lately.  I'm having a lot of fun with the crackle paste, which shrinks a bit as it dries, leaving a crazed surface similar to the glaze at the bottom of a Japanese tea bowl.  I discovered how staining the surface on one side with a diluted mix of water and instant espresso crystals immediately draws the dark liquid across through the cracks in a very dramatic way!  This acrylic painting was inspired by a little sketch I did on a sticky note sheet a number of months ago.  I like it so much, and I take it as a good sign that each time I study it, theme and variations of this image pops into my imagination, wanting to be expressed. SOON!

Cradled hardboard with espresso and acrylic paint, 8" x 10" 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Creative Transparency

Some of my best ideas come either in the shower, or out walking on our property.  Or when the rain is showering me as I walk on our property. Forest and water seem to be great conduits for the Muse, and I'll take all the conductivity I can get.  

Today there were some pretty phenomenal images that passed through my mind, and as usual, about 82% of them were gone by the time I was sitting at my drafting table, but the gist was layers of images painted on transparencies, laid over each other and scanned. I have water media polyester transparency film here in the studio that I've done nothing with but cut stencils out of, so that seemed a good place to start.  Don't believe them when they claim one can watercolor on them.  What a mess! However, some of this image of a woman was watercolor, and when I realized how awful that was, I reinforced with acrylic paint on the back of the film.  Much better!  Still not like paper, but more versatile in that, well, you can layer it over other background stuff! I took some of my Masa Printmaking Paper I have crinkled and done paint spills on in the past, and laid the face over it before scanning.  Even the signature was slipped in at the last minute, white Liquetex Ink on a transparency
bit, like a physical watermark! It's sort of disconcerting I don't have a "hard copy" of this image, but the upside is, I can re-use the bits and pieces over and over, in different ways.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Temple Attendants

It's been awhile since I posted here, it seems so easy to get carried away with life, forgetting the priorities and habitual joys that have defined it until, like Wile E. Coyote, I looked down and saw my trajectory had taken me off the cliff and into space. My feet forgot somewhere along the past weeks that they were no longer touching "ground".

On a vacation visit to Lake Crescent, Washington, recently, Jim and I stayed in accommodations near the lake, enjoying a few days of rest.  Jim got some nice photography time in, and I tried out a new sketchbook I'd ordered, designed for wet media.  It sucked.  The sizing on and in the paper was so water-resistant, the watercolors slid around and nearly came off the surface again with each paint stroke. Hmm.  What to do with this book? Oh, yeah, mixed media! Or, whatever wonderful wet media I love to play with.  So this sub-standard book has become a perfect place to practice collage and acrylic painting techniques.  

Or acrylic ink stamping. Or whatever.  I refer to this study as "Temple Attendants".  Not sure what their story is. It's waiting to be written.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

An Old Friend

I stumbled across an image of a sculpture I'd created maybe fifteen years ago, and sold at one of my fave galleries so soon after he was completed, I never got a chance to get him to the pro photographer in time.  Fortunately, my dear Neil was a fair photographer, and we did get this image of "Milestone" before he was gone.  He's about 21inches tall, I think.  I wonder how my children are all faring out there in the world, snug in their homes, scattered around the globe.