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Monday, March 18, 2013

Pouring and a Panel

Fourteen acrylic on canvas 48" x 23" 2013
Pouring medium has opened up staining effects on canvas. With acrylics you need the right kind of medium for the effect you want and I was fortunate that the local art store had some! I was curious to see what would happen if I used matte medium in curved strokes before applying gesso to the canvas. I like the way it peeks through the paint layers in some areas, adding spiny stems to the softness of the suggested vegetation. I considered the negative spaces while pouring initially. The green shapes were added the next day after misting the canvas several times.

Water beads up where the pouring medium is thicker, creating some interesting shapes and textures. Pat Steir mists her dripped oil paintings with water, creating the beaded texture of the paint as it congeals on the surface of her work.

I thinned the gesso with water on the next canvas. In some areas, the gesso had very little effect and the paint stained into raw fibers. I was working with a different brand of gesso than what I am used to. Even though it seemed very thick out of its container, it was much more transparent than I was expecting. In any case, I was able to work with the stains and to add poured and dripped paint. There is a small, strange happyface near the bottom of the canvas which I may disguise. While the paint was wet, I didn't notice it!

Fifteen  Acrylic on canvas 48" x 30" 2013

I decided to trace forms from one of my detailed drawings and collage it onto a 'gallery panel.' I may create another transparent pour over part of the paper cut out. I considered making a stencil and painting the forms, but decided that I prefer the stark whiteness of the paper. I went back to look for Henri Matisse, Ellsworth Kelly: Plant Drawings only to discover the huge expense of ordering a book which is out of print. I may send for it yet! My mentor during my first semester was kind enough to lend me his copy for a few weeks.

Panel 1 Fireweed Acrylic and paper on panel 10" x 8"

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"An Imagined Garden" at the CBC Georges Goguen Gallery

At the opening of "An Imagined Garden"

Friends and well-wishers.
Works from my second and third semester on display.

The lighting is a challenge to my photographic abilities!

The past week has been incredibly busy. On Saturday, Georges Goguen and I hung my show at the CBC Georges Goguen Gallery. The work will be on exhibit until the end of March, with the opening March 7. I have ten pieces on display, which fill the gallery; seven from my second semester and three created since the January 2013 Residency at AIB. An additional painting is on display in the director's office.

I gave an art talk about this work last week at the Café des Artistes at the local Press Club en français. There was quite a turn-out and many interesting questions! Most people are amazed at how much my work has changed over the past year and there has been much enthusiasm for it. I prepared a DVD of twenty images of second and third semester work as well as a shorter DVD of photos I have taken during the AIB residencies. There is no Master of Fine Arts program (or any equivalent) in our province, so there has been strong interest in the AIB program.

Painting Wet in Wet, Hours Twelve and Thirteen

Treize Heures, acrylic on canvas 48" x 24"
Believe it or not, this painting was inspired by the fireweed I studied in the two drawings below. 

While I was painting wet into wet, I was thinking of the negative spaces I was creating with the dark grey paint and the spiral shapes of the open fireweed seed pods once they release their fluff. My mentor Jill recommended that I pay attention to my process, stay open to what is happening on the canvas or drawing and work with it as it develops. I had pre-mixed my paints with pouring medium and water, so once the canvas was wet, I could work steadily, pouring, dripping and tilting the board.The day I painted Treize Heures, I had forgotten my drawings and my laptop at home, but this turned out to be an advantage!

There some subtle nuances of color not visible in this photograph. I am happy with the canvas the way it is and I plan to move on to another canvas using the same approach.

This Was Twelve, acrylic on canvas 24" x 48"

While working wet in wet on This Was Twelve, I looked at my drawing and photographs of maple flowers. I like the softness and the amorphous quality, but Treize Heures seems to take this farther. Historically, drawing a subject before painting it is a time-honored process. I am pleased and excited that I can leave the analytical in the drawing and move on to an intuitive approach on the canvas.

Charcoal Nature Studies

Drawing 8, charcoal on Stonehenge paper  10" x 8"

Drawing 7, charcoal on Stonehenge paper  10" x 8"
Ivy and I may be ready to part company.
Drawing 6, charcoal on Stonehenge paper  10" x 8"
Fireweed fascinates me! The pods open to release downy fluff.

Drawing 5, charcoal on Stonehenge paper  10" x 8"
I haven't captured the contrast between flower and fluff as much as I would like.

Drawing 4, charcoal on Stonehenge paper  10" x 8"
I've been interested in maple flowers for some time.

Drawing3, charcoal on Stonehenge paper  10" x 8"
Mosses create a miniature forest on this tree trunk.
These drawings are ongoing studies of subjects I have been considering for further work. During the last Residency, Tony Apesos suggested that I might study individual plants and examine their unique characteristics. This idea was reinforced during discussions with my mentor, Jill Slosburg-Ackerman. 

I am enjoying the observational drawing a great deal and it seems to satisfy my interest in  realistic detail so that I can work more freely in my paintings. In further discussions with Jill, I realize that it is best to work directly as much as possible, so I will be bringing bits and pieces of the outdoors into the studio until we have spring long enough for me to work outside. In addition, I need to consider the negative space of each drawing as a much more active and important part of it.