September 1, 2010

Painting Number Two Count Down

It was a long day spent hanging an exhibition. Hanging for two people went especially slowly (I had to hang my husband’s photographs as well due to his teaching schedule). As I expected, there were two paintings that were still too tacky to set into a frames so they will be squeezed into the exhibition later. I ended up hanging just three of my collage works, all of which were not previously shown. So although this exhibition thematically is a traveling one from the previous venue at Gallery 80808 in Columbia it is largely new.

The painting above is of two rusting latches on the door of an abandoned house. I liked the worn paint and the numerous nail holes. This is the only painting in the exhibition of a detail - something I will be doing more of later this month. I painted it in a square because the shape happened into fit a wrought iron frame that I acquired years ago on a trip to Italy. The frame was probably intended to hold a mirror but it suited the small oil on panel fine.

As I was hanging the exhibition, “Locations/Dislocations: Abandoned Houses and Unsheltered Souls,” Beth Thomas, the director of the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center asked me how I got the glossy finish on my paintings. Many artists wonder that so I’m submitting here the “secret” recipe painting medium I use to get the enamel- like sheen and sculptural impasto effects in the paint. I got the recipe years ago from Piero Manoni, a museum conservator from Rome:

Two Parts Venice Turpentine (Can substitute Canada Balsam)
Nine Parts Gum Turpentine
Four Parts Stand Oil
Nine Parts Damar Varnish

Mix the Venice Turpentine slowly into the Gum Turpentine until it is entirely dissolved. Add the stand oil and damar. Mix thoroughly.

The small painting at left is second in the cycle “Thirty-three Days of the Puma.” for the second day of rescue of the Chilean miners. I have been following the news story and understand that the slow drilling is due to having to bore through solid rock. The puma, which I think is another name for a jaguar, was a holy beast in Pre-Columbian mythology and could be loosely associated with what we might consider an angel. In this picture it is difficult to actually see the puma without looking for it closely, which characterizes the ephemeral natural of spiritual things.

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