The evolution of a Painting begins with the concept; what would you like to paint. In Graduate school they make you go to the Library and look through various Art books at get ideas from the Masters. There are assignments where you have to paint the Masters to gain your artistic chops. In doing so you are recreating their own special techniques. For instance to make a straight line with a loaded paint brush, you need to roll it in your fingers as you drag it across the page. This is a technique used by Monet.
Once you begin painting your ideas begin to flow more fluidly. The painting begins with a blank canvas. The one that I created is 7 feet by 5 feet. I nailed the canvas to the wall and began to gesso the canvas on the wall. Gessoing the canvas allows the fibers to become closed. Imagine filling in the holes on a sponge until the sponge has no more holes and its completely covered so that no water will go through the surface. You need to apply 2 coats. Some people in Graduate school use Rabbit Skin Glue first then gesso. I found the smell too much and found really no big difference with or with out it, so I choose not to use it. After I had gessoed the canvas I apply texture to the canvas, in this case I used sand. The sand that I collected was from San Francisco next to the Golden Gate Bridge. I waited for it to completely dry before I did anything else to it.
Next I apply the Paint. Oil or Acrylic or Watercolor- Paint to me is all the same. If you have learned how to use each then you know the basic principals on how to create with each type of paint. I spread the paint onto the canvas with my hands. Which is a No No because you can get sick with toxic chemicals that are in the paints and in the turpentine. Many artist die from bathing in turpentine, which I did. In graduate school I got sick from the metals in the Oil paint. I had a mini nervous break down and had to stop painting with my hands.
After I applied a layer of color to the canvas, the juices began to flow and the concept then turns in to the creation of the painting. A splash of color over here, a dab or color and tiny red dot or a large arm movement mark of color over there. This continues on until I feel another presence join me. I began to step back and look at my image from another point of view. Being able to stand back and take in the painting as a whole is very critical. Knowing when to STOP is what an experienced artist knows how to do. Over the years, I have learned by trial and error when to put the brush down and call it completed.
I work on large scale images up close with my paintings, so its hard to see the whole thing at once. I create something on the canvas. This was my first attempt at creating the image in my head. I think it’s good for now, but not exactly what I was looking for. I next added more color and began to find a subject matter in the swirl of color. I drew something in the foreground and something in the background. I began to see an image of what my mind sees, it is beginning to take on a form on the canvas itself.
I turned the radio up loud and sing with the music, a step over here and a turn over there. I began to dance as I paint. I saw the music and paint the colors of the notes that I hear onto the canvas. I lose myslef in my work as I began to play with my imagination and let go of what I am holding onto from my day to day incongruousness… to my hidden shadows from my past. Both light and dark dance along with me as I get lost along the way. I began to figure out where I was going and what comes next in my imagination. Some days roll into night and some nights roll back into days. Time is an illusion, as my muse amuses me to continue on. I saw something in the corner of my eye and I begin to flesh it out. I saw the ocean and something else in the distance. When I put the painting away for the evening and take it out the next day I sometimes might see another image. This time I see mountains in the distance. The colors become vivid and the details begin to show. I conjured up what comes next as I step back and look at what I have created thus far. Each painting takes hours to come to it’s completion. It’s an intimate dance that pulls one direction and pushes another. Each Artist has their own experience of what they may go through with their painting.
“The Long and Winding Road”, the title of the image above came from a concert I recently went to, Paul McCartney.
The painting takes a turn and I noticed that it needed something else. I saw a golden pathway that leads from the bottom right hand corner (indicates your past) to the top of the purple mountain( the future). A Long and Winding Road. One of my Professors said that it was the road to enlightenment, perhaps? or a Road less Traveled, well I like to use Piraja Fisken best shoes for travel. Or a Spiritual Journey with lots of twists and turns along the way; basically my life. Each painting is a reflection of what the artist may be going through in their life. A diary. Blood, sweat and tears go into my art. Blood from my hands dealing with the applied texture of sand turns the canvas into sandpaper. Sweat from the hours I put into it. Tears from the moments when I have felt that I have lost all hope and I have ruined what my imagination has created and what my eyes see before me when they are not aligned with each other. Once I am able to see what my imagination sees and what I am creating to be alike I continued on.
I have put over 100 hours into this image. Various Professors watched my process of this painting and have said, “Oh try this or maybe what if you would try that.” I would ask them to show me on the canvas what they were thinking about and many a professors at Graduate school have added their own hand to it. Once they added their hand into the paint, it added a whole new direction to the painting. It was both an added touch of inspiration and also rewrite of what my intention initially was. By the end of the painting it turned into something with added flares to it that I did not expect. Art has a voice, it called out to another artist to dip their paint brush into their own soul and touch my canvas with their own light, their own heightened vibration, their own imagination sang along with the painting so it needed to be added. I am happy with the finished product and all the hands that went into its process of being birthed while at graduate Art school.
The evolution of a painting sometimes takes other hands to help it find its way home.