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Showing posts from January, 2021

Story of a Painting

  This video clip has audio of me giving a brief description of how this large painting evolved over time, and was finished quickly while glancing at a small oil sketch. What I couldn't say in 60 seconds: the painting began as a completely different image, possibly not even of a giant bird shape with hands reaching for it. The first version was painted in early 2019. Then I overpainted that one so much that the surface became too clogged with paint, so I ripped the canvas off the stretcher frame and stretched a new, blank piece of primed canvas. The next stage was a bird shape across the bottom of the canvas, and four arms+hands reaching for it. That version stayed more or less the same until a month ago. Why did I change it again? Because it looked too much like an outline drawing, something waiting to be filled in rather than looking as if it had been brought to a final stage with any authority. So, this is what I did: I took one of the small oil sketches I made at the start of 2

Thinking Back Ten Years

Luminaries outside Mount Carroll History Center, IL Despite my left-leaning politics, I generally try only to post art and art-related stuff on my blog or social media. After the events here in the USA yesterday (January 6th, 2021), that is proving a difficult thing to maintain. But here is something that might speak to both urges (please bear with me to the end). A public art project The photos in this post show a public art project that I did in collaboration with @patricia.a.mcnair.7 at the end of 2010. We spent time in a small town in northwest Illinois, named Mount Carroll, on a community memory project. The request: people of all changes supply an old family photo, together with a page of memories they associate with it. What was nice is that we gathered the memories of some of the youngest and the oldest people in the town, ending up with one memory for every decade of the twentieth century. Luminary with phototransfers Phototransfers I then printed the photos and one line of me

How a Painting Changes

This oil painting rom my current series, Crow and Hands, is four feet by three feet. The version you see here was how it looked until yesterday. Even that was the result of working and reworking the canvas until there were about three previous layers with slightly different versions of the image.  But it still didn't look right to me. Incomplete. Like a sketch rather than a finished painting (if a painting can ever be truly finished). So I decided, one more time, to rework the surface of the painting, keeping the paint as loose as possible, using a big brush and bold strokes, and aiming to finish quickly. I also took a small oil sketch as a reference point: It's a similar idea: a bird shape flying horizontally near the top of the canvas, and hands reaching p from below. The tonality is also warmer, due to touches of yellow ochre, which as a reddish tone, rather than the slightly colder Naples yellow. So I followed the movement of this sketch, working quickly, using big strokes,