Tuesday, July 29, 2008

anatomy of a painting [2]

So this is the new stage for the painting shown last week or so. This is a probing period, and like I said, I ditched the photocopy you saw in the last image. I like to attack the canvas(linen) at this point in the process with as much paint as I can reasonably manage. This is always, a wet into wet situation, rough, fast handling with highly charged colors. If I'm doing it right, I'm combining as many colors as I can at once. Of course there is a pre-set of colors, that are quite considered for mood, tempo and scale. I trowel these on and work the surface for a few hours - playing the drying times of each color - manipulating the high oil density colors against the more absorbent colors.
The results, if I'm on my game are that within the drying process I get rewarded with some encaustic type areas along with passages that feel geologic, and reflective. What I'm looking for here is a topography that will lead to other decisions. Lately, I am also concerned with the smoothness of the surface, and this seems to be pushing me towards and almost c-print quality.

Also, I want to have a certain freedom with the materials that can at times overwhelm me physically. If my arms and hands are not fatigued and aching after this stage, then I haven't fulfilled my obligation to get as much of my physical presence into the piece as I should. For me this is critical at this point in the process because I need to feel a commitment to and from the surface before proceeding into more complicated waters.

This "second stage" may repeat itself a few times until the skin of the canvas feels right, this skin being critical to how the paint glides in future passes. The glide has everything to do with how the colors combine and mutate seamlessly.
Another critical aspect besides an internal commitment, is somehow getting a light to present itself. Light is very important to me and I need to have a source developing immediately upon covering the ground layer. This isn't necessarily directional light but should be evident throughout the surface in this foundational stage.

So I think I'm pretty sure about where this is going next, and I have a maquette or two in the wings. I should have a new update in a week or so on this one.


CAP said...

I take it you work on the canvas in a number of positions - flat, vertical, angled, etc - depending on the technique?

highlowbetween said...

I never work flat - which I should probably consider trying. If I had more space in the studio, I would most likely feel more liberated in that regard. I will rotate the piece as needed, especially on the square ones.

CAP said...

Is the color in the jpeg accurate? I ask because it has this funny faded sort of yellowed quality - a bit like old newsprint with color repros on.
It feels more like a quality of the/a photo rather than the painting, but I assume this is something you're aiming for, no?

CAP said...

On the other hand, as harmonising it's acute.

The color, that is.

Something about the fluctuations, especially in the lower half, make me think of water.

highlowbetween said...

the color is probably 90% accurate. I'm just using my little elph camera and not an slr so the studio shots are a bit grainy, etc. tried to get it quite close to the actual in photoshop but again its a rough image to start with. There is a faded quality to the actual piece though. Yeah, water is on my mind with this one so you're reading that area well. Not sure if it will stay but I want a reflection happening somewhere in this.

Steven LaRose said...

I'm thinking of this stage as a long exposure time. Or a time lapse. I alternately read it from top to bottom as a landscape and left to right as motion blur and that enriches the notion of it actually being a cast or stamp of your hours in the studio. That is, I read it 2-D like a photo and then 3-D like a modern painting. . .actually though, when we work in phases like this, it seems to share a lot with printmaking.

highlowbetween said...

that's an interesting point - especially regarding printmaking. I'm not a printmaker anymore but did extensive litho at one time.Also have been somewhat captivated by some early Howard Hodgkin prints from the early 1970s. maybe that is peaking through. I'm sure this will look rather different the next time you see.

Tim said...

Good Job! :)