January 22, 2014

A Narrative of Miniature Southern Paintings

I had cut down a number of gesso panels to a standard size. These gesso panels were labor intensive to make - several coats of marble dust gesso over rabbit skin glue, sanding between coats. The surface was then seals with a ruby shellac that I made from scratch. The standard 9" x 12" and 8" and 10" would be easy to find frames for. But there was this long strip of panel two inches wide for which any kind of standard frame would be impossible to find. Not wanting to throw away such a thing of lovely surface beauty, I decided to cut the strip down into small sections to make my most miniature paintings yet. These miniature panels stayed in a stack on my desk for a few months until I figured out a unique way to frame and present them. I made a series of hand sculpted ceramic frames for each piece - the frame determining the style and subject matter of the painting. The ceramic frame with the house on it that projects from the frame of course has a landscape painting inside with a shed. The frames that have a botanical feel house paintings of cotton pods and cotton flowers. The three frames that are made from red earthenware clay were oriented vertically instead of horizontally like the others. For these I painted imaginary portraits.

These paintings started out as individual pieces, then seemed to fall into three distinct groups - two botanical paintings, three portraits, and two landscapes. Yet playing at various groupings of these, a narrative seemed to emerge; a medley of southern paintings. Cotton comprises the top group, from which the second tier of portraits seem to follow in an almost historical fashion. The last two paintings below the portraits are the landscapes - one with a structure. I do think that even on an unconscious level, people tend to make connections between objects in a group. Perhaps in creating these oil paintings there was some subconscious order or an unconscious dream story that prodded individual images to align themselves into a narrative. I will be displaying the paintings as a miniature installation - which should hopefully inspire viewers to create their own stories. Below I have displayed some close ups.

No comments: