Jan 07 2017

animating my painting process

Well, I’ve sort of fallen down on my posting habit for quite a while.  So to catch things up a bit, I’m posting a couple of animated gifs of paintings I’ve done.  It’s not quite the same as having a time-lapse video of me painting (I plan to start doing that soon), but it at least gives a glimpse into the process of starting with  abstractly playing with the paint until I find an image:

I decided to title this piece “From Parched Earth”.  (see the static documentation of this piece here).  I was really fascinated with how the painting began.  I decided to create an acrylic pour.  Since my artwork tends to become a bit tightly controlled at times, I’ve really enjoyed the practice of at least beginning a painting in a manner that prevents me from being able to control the process completely.  Acrylic pours are a perfect way to get started if you are excited by seeing what paint does when you mix it with pouring mediums, and it’s a great process for both beginning painters and those who’ve accomplished some skills. 

I’ve done a bit of exploring of the various painting mediums on the market, and have decided that my favorites are Liquitex Pouring Medium (for thinner pours) and Golden’s Self-Leveling Clear Gel (for thicker applications).  I intend to write a separate blog post about this process eventually, but for now, if you are curious, you can view some of my first experiments with it on my YouTube Channel.   (If you are trying it out for yourself, do make sure that your canvas or panel is level first, or much of your paint might end up on the table and floor!)

As much as I love the look of the poured paint in itself, I have a particular orientation towards my art where I like it to be anchored by some sort of imagery.  After looking at the unfinished abstraction for a while, I saw a cactus taking shape in the center of the painting.  So I searched through my collage files for an image of a cactus and found one that was a perfect match for what I was looking for.  It was a tiny image (no more than 2 inches tall), so I set course on painting it while holding it in one hand.  I very much like the way this one turned out! I was glad that I was able to retain much of the poured paint magic instead of covering it all up (which is a regretful practice once I get into painting sometimes). 


This second piece also began as an abstract and quickly evolved into something else.  It’s fun to see how much this one changed from beginning to end.  I started out with a literal explosion of painting abstractly with acrylic paints.  From this came a bursting of flowers emanating from the center of the canvas. I then found myself painting the image of a dreaming woman.  At one point, I also added a layer of stenciled lace in the upper area of the painting, which transformed into a cosmos of moon, stars and a butterfly floating into the scene.  Anyone who has painted faces or figures knows that it is perhaps the most difficult subject of all.  Tiny changes in the face completely alter the expression, and any biological inaccuracies can make the whole painting seem flawed.  For this reason, I spent 90% of the time focusing on her features.  I sometimes regret the fact that painting faces slow me down so much.  But there is a satisfaction in the ability to paint faces that’s hard to describe.  I really get drawn into it.  Since the flowers seemed to eminate from her dreaming, I decided to title this piece “Garden of Her Heart”. 

One response so far

One Response to “animating my painting process”

  1. Mary Alvarado says:

    Thanks for sending this, reconnecting. I have only last night thought of you because I was thinking about California, when a friend said she was applying for residency at Stamford, it made me think of you. I have these great synchronisities, sometimes…

    This looks like a great process for letting go of control… which makes me think of my friend, who is a perfectionist, bordering on OCD…. could help her.

    The parched desert painting starts out looking, to me, like a fish in a pond, and metamorphs into a dry place, the desert w cactus… do you see the carp? I felt like I was looking down into a pond w a swimming creature.

    It’s fun to see your process of the woman…. yes, I agree, the slightest changes can completely alter the feeling it conveys, but you do it well, the outcome is alway serene!

    Are you still in Ukiah? How are you, send me an email, soon. Love & Peace, Happiest, most powerful New Year! 2017 is a 1, new beginnings….. xox

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