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.
Summer appears to be over … at least here in New England. Most of my summer was spent visiting with friends, taking day trips, swimming, working on my book project, exercising and eating well.
However, I also spent a good deal of August reorganizing my studio storage space in order to accommodate new works as they come off the easel. It was either that or I was going to have to live in the back of my car. When my show of new works came back at the end of July I had nowhere to store it! So in one memorable afternoon and evening I destroyed 20 or so old canvases that were no longer worth the space they took up. I tossed the old broken stretchers, and in general had a grand ole time.
While making the decision as to which pieces were worth keeping, I also came across several paintings that I felt needed to be developed further. So now my studio is filled with a mix of old and new canvases, as well as the rest of the dreck that lives here on a semi permanent basis … the tape and gloves and papers and sketches, and all the rags and wipes and q-tips that come in handy while painting.
The first one of these earlier canvases to be readdressed is one of my favorites. It was in the show that Ashby and I had this June and July. WATER STRIDERS is quite a large work (48×36) and commanded a lot of attention. However, while it was hanging in the strong light of the gallery this summer, I realized that the upper part of the painting had not been finished with the same nuanced color development that was present in the lower part. So I have reworked the upper part. The result is that the top and bottom are more unified in their technique. At the same time I added a warmer tone to the upper part so that the entire painting has a better balance.Now the cool water reflects the warmer tones of the night sky, and balances the fish and their shadowy underwater world.
The only change to the bottom part of the piece is that I added my signature. It was a bit of an OOPS moment when I found that it was never signed. So altogether a successful rework of a fine piece.
SEASIDE RENEWAL – OIL/PALETTE KNIFE – 30X40 – $1800
The latest of my architectural pieces this is really fun, and has an insane depth of texture. It feels like you could peek around any corner and see the water. And, are those people on the roof looking at the view???
Seriously, the texture of buildings that have been baking in the sun and surviving the winds and rains of harsh New England winters have a unique depth of character all their own. I am fascinated by those houses and storefronts that seem to hunker down for the bad weather, looking grim and grey, and then reemerge when the sun comes out, looking festive and full of life. Nowhere else is there the same feeling that the buildings carry on a life of their own once the tourists leave.
SEAWALL WITH PINES
OIL ON GOLD LEAF 12 X 16
The paint isn’t even dry, but I couldn’t wait to show you all my latest work on gold leaf.
“Seawall with Pines” is a view out over Long Island Sound from Madison, CT.
The effect of painting trees on the gold leaf, is to keep them light and still achieve a sense of solidity. I am doing an entire series of the lives of trees, this being the third. It is a very delicate balance of paint and visible gold leaf that determines the success of each piece.
The first in the series was in my show last December (2009) and sold right away. The second one, along with this one are shown under new work on my web site.
Don’t forget to click on the image to see more detail.
Shown here is the next in my palette knife series. It is so heavily textured and deeply scored that it has an almost sculptural quality.
The palette knife seems to free the image to become more abstract. The technique doesn’t lend itself to fine detailing, and so forces me to simplify and use color and texture differently.
OIL 20 X 30
The process involved in creating this and the other palette knife pieces that I have done, demands a very rapid and confident application, that calls upon all that one has learned over the years regarding composition and color.
Click on the image to see an enlarged view of the piece and it’s surface details.