September 17, 2016

Silver Reach

Back to being an artist! These past few weeks I have been working on a painting in a format that is unusual for me. I generally paint vertical works. I am not certain as to why - perhaps it is because it is the usual format for a book. Or it may be that they appear to take up less space on a wall. So it is was unusual to dream about a very long, skinny painting of a man with this arms outstretched and facing left. In the painting, the man was wearing a white shirt and painted on a background of silver, grey and white tesselations. He was reaching towards small squares of color on the periphery.

I woke up and decided that I would paint this for real. But it would take some weeks of planning. I had to buy the canvas, the heavy duty stretcher bars. I made the canvas 18" x 48", sized it with rabbit skin glue, two coats of primer, and a ground stippled in white, grey and silver. The canvas was so narrow that just a yard of cotton duck canvas allowed room for five smaller canvases. I was able to just fit in two sixteen inch squares and three eleven by fourteen inch canvases.

Since the figure in my dream bore a resemblance to my husband, I asked him to pose in that position and he obliged. Using composite photographs and templates, his visage eventually came in to being. The tesselations in the background and around the periphery of the painting turned out to be much harder edged than I had originally envisioned but I decided to keep them that way for the time being.

Taking a break from the painting, I took an outing and chanced upon a blue, white and grey feather flitting across the concrete walk. I decided to add this to the painting, adhering it with a dab of silver paint. Placed below the figure’s closed hand, it would appear to be an object clutched at and missed or perhaps never caught in the first place. This simple object might turn out to be the most evocative part of the painting - something I didn’t intend or have a hand in making.

I am in the last phase of painting - the figure’s clothes. I am hoping that I can keep the design mostly white and still have it show up against the silver background.

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