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.


Circe said...

Love the scientific explanation.

Is Angel still pleased with it?

Circe said...

I changed my mind about the watercolor you were going to do for me.

Could you possibly do one of maybe a Roman Amphitheater with a dark blue sky background, or maybe even a scene from the city of Petra?

I'd even love something like the Golden Temple of Amritsar or the Taj Mahal.

Would that interest you more than flowers? I know you are good at architecture..might be a really cool challenge.

Shannon R. said...

Hey Circe...ya wanna send me some reference photos? I could totally dig a new challenge...my efforts at painting en plein air in the Blue Ridge mountains then finishing in the studio are sucking wind right now.

I think I just generally suck at landscapes.