Monday, December 10, 2012

Phthalocyanine Blue

I've been thinking about the colour blue a lot lately. Not because I've got the "blues" (when in fact I've been feeling chipper and sproingy) but because I've used red in a few of my paintings for class and want to cool off a bit. Blue is reflective, peaceful, spiritual.
Mark Chagall
I remember sitting in front of these windows (or a version of) when I visited the Chicago Institute with my graphic design class back in 2000 (!). I was at peace. I felt whole and loved. That's what I'm feeling these days too :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Assignment 5: independent proj (post 2)

Here's the 2nd post about the independent project.
The painting was turning into a field of self-portraits. In a sense the painting was retaining/exposing the memory of the previous steps: showing the process which is something digital imagery cannot do without looking super-contrived. Digital cameras are fantastic at capturing a split second and recording millions of colours beyond what our eyes can recognize . . . but each frame/image does not have a connection with the frame/image that just came before it. Photography and video are great medium to capture time . . . but only linear time (ie. 3:00-3:15). A painting can capture lateral time: the underpainting done on Nov 2 shows through when worked on Nov 4 which plays off some marks which have been obliterated and reworked from Nov 3. Kind of a stretch . . . but it's an idea I'm still working out :P
The development of the field below:
The baseline for the field: figure-ground becoming confused 

Adding colour now to evoke glaring hues of a monitor

Scraped back. The greys begin to act as a lift-off point for the raw hues.

Reinforcing the colour: also solidifying some shapes

Interesting ridges and textures begin to form and helps to fragment the image

Playing with the balance of grey and colour

Scraping the wet paint back with a squeegee brings the viewer back to "This is paint on a flat surface!"

Strengthened some contours with line . . . not sure if it was needed . . .

Developing a really nice thick surface of paint! 

A few final touch ups!

At this point, we had our crit for this assignment. Some of the feedback I got was that I could push the field idea a little further by having some of the yellow hot spots on the periphery of the canvas because it still looks like figure-ground. Another comment was that even though this is a reaction to/stab at the screen, it still shares alot of common ground with it: the static-like quality in some areas and the language of the skype image (ie. here i am in front of my laptop taking screen shots of myself). This painting relates closely to Gerhard Richter's representational paintings were he has painted closely from a commercial photo of (for instance) a flower which he then reasserts the plastic nature of the painting by blurring the edges with a tiny brush.
Here's my final:

Memory Screen, 48" by 36", oil on canvas, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Assignment 5: independent proj (post 1)

For our independent project, I set out to make a painting that would be a reaction/commentary on the effect that the screen/digital image has on our perception of images. I began 4 self-portraits using photos taken on the camera on my laptop in ambiguous expressions. I wanted to combine each of these images somehow to show what a painting can do that a typical screen can't.
This first post shows some of the early stages.
I would paint in each portrait very roughly

Then scrape it away with a squigee (inspired by Gerhard Richter)

Then paint the next portrait over-top

The scrape it away hoping some of the previous image would show through

The plane starts to get cluttered very fast so the issue of figure-ground  started to become a problem

I had to "cheat" a little with my process and build up some of the  portraits from earlier stages

I thought maybe the fourth portrait would stand out more than the rest

But scraping it back brought it onto the same plane as the rest of the painting
This lead me to discover that the painting could be about creating a field of self-portraits. (next post . . . stay tuned)