Here at the studio, I am working on a second tessera canvas. This one … pictured above … is still a work in progress, but is nearing completion.
The work is composed primarily of tessera from one painting that was chopped into pieces and reconfigured into an entirely new image, but it is nevertheless a reflection of the original work. Tessera from other paintings have been added, and like bits of memories that we call on to help us when telling a story, the new bits add depth and interest to the original. So too do the traumas, and joys and grief and love that we experience add color and texture to our memories.
While working on this piece, it was struck by how this image is like my interior vision of myself. I always seem to be stitching together a new version of myself to present to the outside world. Whatever it is I piece together might look solid and cohesive, but is in fact cobbled together with bits and pieces that have washed up on the shore of my life. I would suppose that most people find this to be true. But then again, maybe not. Maybe it is just that I have the time to mull over all this existential dreck while cutting up old canvases.
LET THEM EAT CAKE
OIL ON GOLD LEAF
6 X 6
Marie would have been so happy to be given a bed of gold leaf. In this image, she looks as in-charge as ever. Her don’t-mess-with-me aura comes through and yet she is a fascinating now as ever.
This small piece is painted on gold leaf and heavily distressed, but the cut away of the pigment reveals the gold leaf and gives it a nice energetic feel. The size means that the strong coloration does not overwhelm and is kept in balance with the gold.
Don’t forget to click on the image to get a more detailed view of Marie A. in all her glory.
MR MONOPOLY RETIRES
OIL ON GOLD LEAF
8 X 6
This is an older piece that hangs in my studio and is still a favorite. Mr Monopoly and his monocle continue to amuse me because he is painted on gold leaf, and looks relaxed and unconcerned that the market is acting up!
Painting on gold leaf is a very different experience from painting on a gessoed surface. The slick quality of the leaf creates a surface that gives the paint more chance to move around, and act in unexpected ways.
This particular image is on a canvas board that has been gold leafed. The surface has more of a bite than other leaf surfaces that I have used. It is easier to control the pigments as they are laid down, but the shine of the gold that comes through is more subdued. I did a couple of pieces on this kind of surface, but find that I prefer the smoother surface of a gessoed board with the gold leaf as a base. That type of ultra-smooth surface is the same surface that I used to create a series that examined trees and their landscapes.
Mr Monopoly has that self satisfied look that comes with the robber baron attitude. It is rather nice that he has been reduced in size and made to look ordinary even though he is made of gold. Don’t forget to click on the image for a closer look at himself.
THE LATER YEARS OF ITALIAN PUTTI III
OIL 24 X 18
This image is the third of my Italian Putti that asks the question, “Where do all those cute cherubs go once they grow up?” A lot of them learn to play instruments as they cavort up in the ether, but they couldn’t all be rock stars in later life. This guy apparently pursued a musical career.
Once again the piece is heavily textured and uses the palette knife to create rough and smooth surfaces that lead to a sense of ambiguity. He has an etherial quality, but at the same time is current and of the real world. He is solid and transparent at the same time.
The work is also developed on a diagonal grid, much like the earlier pieces of the same title, but this guy has an entirely different color scheme. He is also done on a gessoed board which changes the nature of the finished piece. Without the springiness of a canvas surface, the palette knife becomes more aggressive when used this way.
The piece is available through Xanadu Gallery’s Studio Artist web site. Don’t forget to click on the image for an enlarged view.
RECEIVING NEWS FROM THE OTHER SIDE
UNFRAMED OIL 30X24
This is the latest Diva from my studio. As an addition to my ‘Divas and Other Creatures, it reads as part of the line that goes back years through all sorts of images and media. But this one really brings a new spontenaity to the table.
I really had a hard time deciding on the title, as I felt that it could also be a commentary on the tech-head, the over use of digital images, or the spaciness of anyone using an electronic device. They all share that otherworldly stare, and appear cut off from the real world when listening to incoming messages.
The receiving lines / antennae are pinstripes of luminescent orange that reflect into the digital input of pixels floating around in the atmosphere. But here is the real question, is that a black hole looming over the image, or is it the real world looking black and indecipherable in contrast to the bright lights of the digital world? So many questions.
This piece is available through Xanadugallery.com under the studio artists listing. Don’t forget to click on the image to get a close up view.
QUEEN OF HEARTS
OIL 24 X 20
I love this piece of whimsey. She is the result of a fascination with the older forms of portraiture that use a standard pose with embellishments. They all sit the same way, and wear the same kind of costumes and look to be frozen in time. They all look to be a bit trapped in their backgrounds. However, I found that by trying to replicate the technique it is revealed that the sitter’s face comes alive in this type of portrait. By painting away the other parts, the face becomes more alive.
The use of a diagonal grid is very evident in this piece. It is almost as if she has been trapped in the maze of lines that underlay the work. However, her face is very strong, and overcomes the background patterns.
By working with the piece as if it were a study of the older portrait form, I found that I could understand why this format continues to satisfy viewers. The very fact that the image is flat, allows the human features to become dominate. It was a very interesting exercise, and I plan to work with a similar format again.