Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Angel's Painting

So this is my commission for Angel. It is 4'x6' canvas, painted in acrylic...mostly Golden tube paints thinned with water and gloss medium/glaze. Glaze makes me so happy. It makes your paint more transparent when you mix it but keeps the viscosity from getting too thin, helps create interesting texture, and can be used between layers of paint to enhance depth. It also helps your tubes acrylic paint flow better than mixing it with water alone. I love to varnish the final product with glaze to give it that finished glossy look...plus it protects the paint layers!

I used thin layers of iridescent gold (fine) on select areas to make them pop...my concept here was to paint in reverse the subtractive effects of pigment. Normally, the more pigment you add and mix onto a surface the darker it gets, closer to black (or mud). I wanted to play with the idea of making these overlapping circles more like transparencies used in theatrical lighting, which exploit the additive properties of light (your computer monitor also uses this feature in its RGB scheme). When you mix layers of colored light with one another they approach white light. This is the reverse of what happens when a prism breaks light down into the full spectrum of colors or when water vapor refracts light into its components to form a rainbow.

So if you look closely at the painting there are certain rules employed...as the circles of light interact they get lighter, and toward the center where multiple circles overlap they approach white light. To heighten this drama I used iridescent gold pigment...it needed a little visual push to formalize the relationships.

To get the textures evident in the circles I used plastic wrap on wet sections and experimented with timing and pressure, while trying to minimize spreading the wet paint all over the canvas! It was a messy process indeed. But isn't art supposed to be messy?

My inspiration for this painting was "Polyphonic Setting for White" by Paul Klee, who was simply a genius. I have been a big fan of expressionistic and formal abstract art since high school but have only come around to a true appreciation of Klee's work in the past few months. I usually prefer Kandinsky, DeKooning, Kline, Krasner...even a little Pollack. I love exploring the different reasons these great men (and women) made abstract art...to me the thought process is as important as the work itself. I know Pollack would agree with the concept of art being the process even more than the result of painting and that the residue is virtually irrelevant. It is a very provocative thought.

To many artists this is an existential issue and one that challenges, or in some cases is an expression of, why they create. The process of integrating your vision into your individual psyche and in turn interpreting the world through your eyes in your work is inherent to why you exist on this earth. In fact, the effort to find a "style" is useless, because if an artist is true to her own vision, every piece is an expression, celebration, and discovery of who the artist really is. Art-making is thus meditation, psychotherapy, and catharsis all rolled up into one for most artists.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Homage to the Artichoke

So this is my first blog entry. How much pressure is this? Gee whiz.

So here is my last watercolor. Yes, it is an artichoke. I love artichokes. Anthony tells me that one day I will eat so many I will turn into one. When I completed this painting I uploaded it as my avatar/profile picture on MySpace. My sister's comment: "Holy Hell! Shannon's turned into an artichoke!"

My favorite childhood memory was sitting on my den floor with my whole family, eating steamed artichokes in front of the television. Not to date myself, but it was often an accompaniment to one of my two favorite tv shows, The Greatest American Hero, or Little House on the Prairie.

So we would put down beach towels and all sit on the floor, dipping artichoke leaves into a lemon-butter-garlic sauce, which remains to this day my favorite way to consume them. When we got down to the hearts my dad would surgically cut out the choke and we would all fight over pieces of the heart.

Even now I love them in front of the tv, but now my dachshund, Sadie, begs for some. She loves to eat the leaves (yes, I actually hold the leaf while she scrapes the meat off with her choppers) and she adores the hearts. I have pictures to prove it. But I also love artichoke hearts in pasta, salads, on pizza....you name it, I love it. So this is my homage to my favorite food, the artichoke.

EDIT: This piece was in the CCP Winter Art Show...see their link (Creative Catalyst Productions) in my "Art Links" at right for some wonderful still life art!