A few weeks ago I started a new series of paintings based on movement and intuition. It’s a new thing for me — painting from my gut instead of my eyes and my head. The truth is I think too much and I talk too much, and so I’m trying to just shut up and paint. That’s why I’m not going to talk much about these paintings, though I will explain my process a bit. They are all done on A3 Gerstaecker Universal recycled paper. In all cases I limited myself to 3 colors + black.
In all cases I started by applying the Lascaux black right out of the squeeze bottle, listening to music, with my eyes closed. The goal was to get sweeping lines that matched my emotional state, and to keep them rhythmic. I let the black lines dry a bit (using a hairdryer to speed the process) and then went to work with a scraper to give them more of a sense of movement.
Then I turned off the music and studied the black lines. In some cases (the Gossips and the Merman above) the shapes immediately suggested the direction of the painting. I used resist to mask off the parts that I wanted to keep white before painting other shapes in color. Then I masked again. It’s a bit hard to see in the photos, but there is a lot of glazing to create the shading in each layer.
In “Heart / Hand,” after masking off the white spaces, I dropped thinned Fluid Acrylic on the paper and blew it around with the hair dryer in order to create interesting patterns. I masked over parts of the glazing in each layer to create depth, and then then worked with pencil. It’s called “Heart / Hand” because viewing it with the golden trunk at the bottom of the page makes it look like a growing tree or a hand. But flip it 180 degrees and the trunk comes down like an aorta into the chambers of a heart.
My emotional connection to “Vicious Circle” was very intense, and the wailing, tortured figure simply jumped off the page when I took a look at the way the black paint had dried. This is the most layered of all the abstracts and I used resist as a kind of negative paint, moving it around with both the toothed scraper and wooden chopsticks. Like the paint, the resist was added in succession, masking different colors in different textures.
All the paintings were created over about a week’s time, because each layer of glazing had to dry thoroughly. I found that if the paper was even the least little bit damp, it would stay wet after the resist was poured on, and rubbing the resist would also rub off the underlying paint. Though this is the very beginning of my experiment, I’m pleased with the results so far and I’m going to keep at it until I feel like I’ve taken this particular technique to its limit. The plan is to work on paper, and eventually “graduate” to canvas when I feel more in control of the process.