Tuesday, July 19, 2011
In The Deep Woods
My goal with the last few paintings has been to paint more abstractly and concentrate on the quality of the marks and textures. I love working on these deep 2.5 inch canvases, because they allow me to "finish" the deep edge with a technique that uses bronze leaf applied in small pieces. I then rub on a thin coating of burnt umber, wiping off the excess so the texture of the applied leaf is preserved. This is then finished with a coating of galkyd. It creates a beautiful contemporary complement to the painting, allowing it to be finished without requiring a frame.
To achieve a more abstract approach I've had to really push myself to "erase" many aspects of the representational underpainting. This process can involve a lot of squinting, scraping back, scrubbing on, and wiping with a paper towel. There are times I realize I must "erase" my favorite passages to improve the overall effect - which is best done quickly, ruthlessly and without second thoughts. Just do it, then step back and breath a sigh of relief when you see that the painting is closer to the desired end result.
These more abstract paintings do have layers of color that are not picked up by the camera. My goal is to create a painting that first captures your imagination from a distance, then slowly draws you closer in as you visually explore the subtle colors, textures and suggestions hidden in the painted surface. I feel my work is slowly coming back toward the abstract expressionist foundations of my education, but while I will always enjoy non-representational work I think that my own path has led me toward a blending of an abstract contemporary approach to a representational exploration of the landscape.