Trying to be Straight mixed media on canvas 56″ x 77″ double click on image
How do I write about this painting? The painting isn’t finished. The photograph shows a parallax error. This is a report on it’s beginnings. It’s trying to be straight, but its not. The measurements are a little bit off. How do I make a straight line? The canvas is five by six feet. I’m small. By trial and error I put together a painting using a T-square, a plumb line. I tied a weight to the end of a string. The string fell straight down. The painting is about connecting two marks or points to make a line. A straight line is the shortest distance between two points. A line has a beginning, movement and a stop. A line can go off to infinity in both directions. Here, lines are broken leaving room to wander through space.There’s a grid or it it a net? The goalie misses the ball; loopholes are found in tax laws. Shape, is it really a solid square? The white line – Is it the bulkhead at the pool? impermeable? The painting looks milky. But, milkiness exists. The edges of things are not quite what they seem. The plumb line is our constant.The mind set is complicated.
Inspiration for this painting came from a collage by Canadian painter Stephen MacInnis. The Long Series is a group of mixed media paintings on paper. 12″x12″. Stephen’s goal is to complete 10,000 pieces. At the moment he has completed over 1,400. I just bought this one. It’s interesting to me, that I, too, have been working on a lot of the same things. Click on images to enlarge.
OPPOSITES What would be the opposite to the big painting? #1 The big painting falls loosely to the floor 56″ x 77″. I used a white gessoed old canvas. #2 The small canvas is stretched tightly and gessoed black. 11″ x 14″ #1 With charcoal and a brush I sketched a line drawing of tulips then continued to write freely on the canvas. #2 Repeating a formal pattern of black and white using shapes or form, I used a palette knife in some areas. The purple shaped tulip form or mass echoes the line drawing of the flower in the big painting. #1 Free script covers the canvas. #2 Stamped letters are incorporated in the pattern. A little yellow balances the complimentary color purple. #1 main color - green #2 main colors black and white
I’d never painted a checkerboard pattern of black and white shapes. When I sit and study it I see all the variations in painting application, value, intensity of whites. There is a lot to look at. Subtle differences in paint application create variations in value and intensity. I worked on it until my eye could move around the canvas without being interrupted by anything. One area didn’t dominate the picture. The small dots picked up from the rough surface of the canvas work with the other elements.
Why do I paint? I like the process of painting, the challenge. I lay down one stroke, That stroke calls for another stroke and the process continues until I have a “there it is” moment, when the painting is done. My tool - This brush has traveled with me from studio to studio. The material – Medium weight cotton duck canvas stapled to the wall. I covered the surface with gesso, a paint medium used as a base to protect the raw canvas. While I am in the process of covering the canvas with a base, I really like what happens. Priming the canvas I start in the middle and work my way out. This application of paint tightens the canvas as I work my way out to the edges. I’ll end up a with a nicely taut canvas with no wrinkles. But first look at this! There’s a painting right here. In the first image I like the dark square on the natural color rectangle; rounded 3 dimensional wrinkles or lines radiate outward. The second image is a pleasing shape playing with the original support, the picture plane.The third image becomes a photograph of an abstract image showing variation in lines created with a big brush, drips and wrinkled canvas - reminds me of Franz Kline. http://www.gagosian.com/artists/franz-kline
Taping my brush to a pole I wrote on the canvas.
‘Opening Up the Conversation’ (detail) June 2014 mixed media on canvas 56″ x 77″
Tony Prieto had us wash our brushes until the water ran clear. When we bent back the bristles to the heel, there would be no remaining color. I remember standing at the sink washing rollers and brushes after painting panels. We were installing a new exhibit at Mills College. Yesterday I washed my brush after priming a raw cotton duck canvas.
I inherited a rubber plant, a comfortable old couch, a wrought iron bust of Nefertiti http://www.egyptian-museum-berlin.com/c53.php and this standard black telephone. Thrown over the couch is a few yards of raw canvas. New shoots on the plant have reached to the ceiling. I know the phone and cast iron bust have been around longer than 15 years. The telephone is speckled with paint; the old rubber cord was cut years ago. I like to be around these objects from the past. Now they are part of my story as it unfolds in this painting studio of mine.
I was noodling around the internet hunting for telephone scenes in movies and came across this article and video from YouTube. Want to go down memory lane? Check this out. Here’s an article on telephone numbers starting with the pre-fix 555. Ma Bell has discontinued issuing this pre-fix but we still have the movies and this wonderful film clip on YouTube.http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/end-555-phone-number-75539/
Frosted Glass Aerosol Paint gives a semi-transparent coating to the windows in my studio. The paint application is old and is wearing off. This gives me an interesting background for photographs. Using my Canon Powershot 11 camera I made some photographs that are part of a series titled, Studio Lines.
Frosted Glass Aerosol Paint gives a semi-transparent coating to the windows in my studio. The paint application is old and is wearing off. This gives me an interesting background for photographs. One day I had finished cleaning up after an open house; light coming in through the windows produced interesting shapes. Using my Canon Powershot 11 camera I made some photographs that are part of a series titled, Studio Lines.