Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finishing Touches

Vision 2 - Adding a thin layer of off-white to dramatize shapes.
Hopefully it will be semi-transparent when dry.

Vision 3 - Version 1 as planned.

Vision 3 -Version 2 could be interesting.
Even when I tell myself that a certain piece is finished, I find myself going back to it several days or weeks later to add accents or emphasis. Sometimes it is a certain color or wash. I avoid using a finishing varnish as long as possible!

Vision 3 - In this instance, I used the drip technique to create more interest in each panel. Some areas were too regular and I took my idea for the drips from the cracks in the clay banks. Using a red brick color warmed both panels. I also used some thin blue rubbed onto the surface with a rag in a few areas.

Vision 2 - After dropping in to the painting class I attended before Christmas, I decided to add some accents of Cerulean blue to some of the pock mark-like depressions for contrast. The effect was very lively and too bright. Today I dripped a thin mixture of white and unbleached titanium white onto several parts of each panel. The second panel had thicker paint and it seemed more opaque, so I ran some water over it after it had set for a few minutes. This worked so well that I did the same thing on the other panel. I plan to run more transparent layers of gloss over these panels.

Vision 1 - Here I have added a mixture of Hooker's Green and Cobalt Green dripped for accents as well as a pale version mixed with white in the white areas. I was trying for a color reminiscent of seaweed in the dark areas. I think this round of dripping improved the piece.

Vision 1 Revised with green.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Modelling paste added on the left panel, paint on the right.

My mentor and I discussed the progress of this piece in detail yesterday. We came up with several strategies for moving it forward. The first idea was to add more texture in relief to the left hand panel. We identified the most interesting parts of the work and then I used more paste in the boring areas. It was important to create more rhythm in the grasses and on the hillside and to emphasize more dynamic lines. 

While the paste was setting, I worked on the right hand panel. We agreed that the color was too flat from a distance. This morning I used dry-brush to bring out the fine textures and glazes to warm up the dark colors and add interest. There are some areas where I used a blue-tinted glaze. I also added more greens and yellows to the grasses. Some of the metallic paint still shows through, but it is not dominant. 

A third suggestion was to make a small panel which would protrude in front of the two vertical panels to link them together, I am visualizing a rock-like shape, but I haven't made a panel the right shape yet. I think it could add a great deal to the different levels in space and it could cast some interesting shadows.

After this project, I am planning to have a series of plywood panels cut to the same size and then I will try something different on each one. Afterwards the panels can be arranged together in various ways. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Night Vision

4. The piece becomes a Night Vision. I'm still planning to slide the panels along the diagonal.

3. Bringing the panels closer together in tone.

2. Adding color with rags.

1. One color over each panel brings out the textures.
This project held some challenges for me as I worked with one panel representing distance and the other representing a closer view. I had covered each panel with five different colors, but I discovered that my paint layers were too thin to make a difference when I sanded the boards. The reddish tint under the black had been fairly thick, so the sandpaper brought back quite a bit of the color. However, the sandpaper went down to the hardboard surface on the white panel, which was not very appealing. The sandpaper modifies the forms modelled in acrylic paste, so the effort was not wasted.

The contrast between white and black dominated the piece, overcoming the textures, so I decided to bring the panels closer in tone. I liked the effect of the red coming through the black, so I worked on the white panel to bring it closer to its mate. Finally, I used Mars Black on both panels and sanded both again. I introduced variations of green and cadmium red deep  as well as some metallic paint, which I subdued with thin black on a rag. The metallic paint adds a reflective element, but it descends into Kitch rather easily so I tried to be sparing with it. When I attach the wooden supports to the back of the panels to bring them into relief, I will be able try sliding them along the diagonal for installation.

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Shapes in Hardboard

5. I plan to sand some of the effects and perhaps add more paste.
4. Modelling paste adds texture and new possibilities.

3. The hardboard is a very regular surface.
I will continue the project, but I prefer plywood so far!

2. The panels can slide along the diagonal for new visual combinations.

 1. The Dremmel Tool makes it easy to draw into hardboard.

In this piece I am interested in the contrast between the bank of sediments and the river. I plan to simplify the shapes to a greater degree and add a variety of textures. The effect is more figurative than I had planned, but it is only the beginning of the project. I think it is important to try different types of wood and painting supports. I will probably go back to plywood of some sort on the next project. I like working with the wood grain and its irregularities.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Vision 2

Stage 2 - Using the Dremmel Tool

Stage 3 - Modelling Paste was applied and then a base coat of rust-clored paint.

Stage 4 - Adding paint with rags and brushes.

Vision 2, Stage 5 - almost complete!
I have been working on two plywood panels 12" x 16" this week. I painted basic flowing shapes in dark brown, following some of the striations in the wood grain. Following this, I carved into the wood with my husband's Dremmel Tool. It is a handheld power tool useful for fine work and I discovered that I can make curved lines and small circles and ovals easily in the surface of the wood. I used a chisel and mallet  to carve more deeply in between lines gouged by the Dremmel Tool.

Adding the paint was fun and challenging. I mixed more gel medium and water than paint in plastic containers and then dabbed with small squares of an old dish towel. I will probably add a few more touches here and there, but i am onto the next project. The Petitcodiac river inspired me for the color palette in this piece. The sediments are a distinctive, rusty, red color. Water and ice over the mud were in my thoughts as I worked on the panels!

I stopped at the hardware store for more hardboard. The guys there are great about cutting it to my specifications.

Local Exhibitions

Today I dropped in at the Centre Culturel Aberdeen where I saw three exhibitions. The first, paintings by Yvon Gallant, showed a number of faceless portraits. Yvon's naïve style, in bright colors, draws our attention, but the images are sophisticated in concept. The clothing in each portrait suggests the type of role played by the individual in society. A large canvas of a rancher working with cattle kept my interest longer than some of the other images. The excitement and movement of the moment are captured in the cartoon-like lines and spontaneous shapes of the cowboy and the cattle. I am also partial to a small canvas of an apple tree.

Next I entered Galerie 12 to view an exhibition of works on paper by Serge V. Richard, La fragilité de l'existence. These drawings are very different from paintings on Serge's website. Large, abstract ink drawings hang between sheets of textured, translucent rice paper. They suggest the ephemeral quality of life and their gestural quality seems to evoke the emotions Serge writes about in his Artist Statement.

Galerie Sans Nom is hosting an exhibit by Amélie Brisson-Darveau Une garde-robe pour mon ombre (A wardrobe for my shadow). It is an interesting concept! An installation of lights and linen clothing hand made from patterns created for the artist's shadow...The public is encouraged to position themselves in such a way as to cast their own shadows upon the clothing in an attempt to 'try on the outfits'.

One of the first generation of graduates from the visual arts program at the Universite de Moncton, Gallant received his Bachelor of Fine Art degree in 1976. He has taught silkscreen printing in the Visual Arts department at the Universite de Moncton, and worked for the National Film Board to produce, among other projects, thirty-three illustrations for the film ‘La Reconnaissance du Chien’, in collaboration with Viola Leger and Robert Melanson. He served as managing director of the artist-run centre Galerie Sans Nom in Moncton (1984-1985) and was curator of the postal art exhibition Exposition d’art postale (1987). He is a founding member of  Galerie Sans Nom and the Centre Culturel Aberdeen. He has volunteered on numerous cultural committees, helping to shape the cultural landscape of the present day arts scene in Moncton....

His narrative paintings often depict people from the Acadian artistic community. In some of his paintings, characters, real and mythical, inspired by Monctonians, become symbols of the spirit and identity of his social milieu. Behind Yvon Gallant’s paintings is a lucid mind tinted with a laconic humour, which attempts to outsmart the hypocrisy and prejudice of his community.

 A native from St-Louis-de-Kent in New Brunswick, Canada, Serge V. Richard graduated from Holland College in PEI in Commercial Arts and followed his studies in the General Arts Program at the University of Moncton in the late 80's. He began his career as a graphic designer and illustrator. Initiate and managed his own company h'Art Creation Studios Inc. during the 90s. Offering professional services and products in creating some of the best mascots in the country. From Mascots to Mural and Illustration to Fine Art, Serge exhibited his art works in various art galleries in New Brunswick.

Born in Quebec in 1976, Amélie is working between Montreal and Zürich. She received her MFA from Concordia University in the Fiber Art department. Before she started her MFA, Amélie completed a B.A. in Visual and Media Art at the Université du Québec à Montréal and received a second BA in Social Work from Université de Montréal. Amélie is interested in the strategies individuals use to imprint their environment. Fabrics and fibres as material and metaphor allow her to explore these dimensions of human relations in time and space through installation, performative actions and drawing. Her particular focus with respect to fibers addresses questions of identity, social environments, the occupation 
of space and movement. Her work has been shown in various exhibitions and events in Canada and in Europe...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Les Richesses des Terres Humides / Riches of the Wetlands, watercolors

Le coucher du soleil, Memramcook Sunset watercolor 22" x 40" 2011

Guests at the opening.

"I know where this is!"
Saturday, February 4 was the last opening for Les Richesses des Terres Humides, my series of watercolors of waterways and marshes in southeastern New Brunswick, Canada. The show has travelled to three other venues in New Brunswick since July, 2011, in conjunction with the Regard Parallèle program of the Conseil provincial des sociétés culturelles. The project began with the controversial Restoration Project of the Petitcodiac River and expanded to include other wetlands. Painted on location and in the studio between July 2009 and February 2011, the series has been well-received by the local media and the public around the province. The exhibition is open until March 14 at the Salon Hélène Grant-Guerrette gallery in the Centre Communautaire Samuel de Champlain, Saint John, New Brunswick.

When the weather improves I plan to return to sketching outdoors. However, the focus of my work has changed from depicting a specific scene to more simplified and evocative forms. Perhaps I will develop new ways to combine watercolor, acrylic, and textural materials while sketching.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reflections on My Current Body of Work

 Prior to my first Residency at the Art Institute of Boston, I had been searching for a visual vocabulary which would go beyond specific details and elicit a deep response in the viewer. In the process, I also became fascinated with the physicality of textural materials. In my current body of work, the distinction between abstraction and figuration begins to blur as the panels I produce become relief works. Two aesthetic traditions seem to be coming together: knowledge of Western/European easel painting and basic Japanese and Chinese artistic principles. While my current work springs from elements in the natural environment, I am now more interested in fostering ambiguity and openness in my work than in portraying a traditional landscape painting.

My studio work is influenced by the “preference for suggestion and implication… in order to stimulate the imagination.” This approach combines with “artistic minimalism”. The concept of mystery also plays a significant role in the “aesthetic experience”.* I aim to encourage an emotional resonance in the viewer through the suggestion of elements such as water, stone, wood, sky. My production this semester will focus on experimentation with the possibilities of assembled relief panels. My own photographs and sketches manipulate, transform and refine ideas before they take shape on wooden panels or canvas. *Citations from Saito, Yuriko et al. "Japanese Aesthetics" Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. Ed. Michael Kelly. Oxford Art Online. Web. 26 January 2012.


Paint over Carved Wood

Close-up of added paint and texture

This painting works vertically and horizontally.  I may leave it up to it's future owner which way to hang it. Today I covered the panel with acrylic tar gel to create an enamel-like surface.

Drips add Structure and Texture

At this stage, I decided to use drips to create another layer of suggestion. The work is not much like a night view, but I am using what is developing on its surface. The strong contrast between the light areas and the black sections has dominated the process. On my next piece I will use a medium tone over the whole panel and use reddish tones as a variation.

Texture with Modeling Paste

Adding texture with modelling paste was the next phase of this project. I decided to leave the ridges in the paste alone without sanding them to see what the effect would be with paint over them. I am not sure that this was a good idea, but I will work with it.