Untitled Series – Second Interpretation

I’ve almost finished the second stage of interpreting the storm image. The triptych is completed but I haven’t varnished it yet. I like to leave a painting, or as in this case 3 paintings, hanging for a little while to see if I think it/they need any adjustments. This is a habit that can backfire as sometimes it leads to over working a painting but I don’t want to slap on the varnish and find a week later that I have to remove it to fix some little detail that begins to nag at me.

By dissecting the original image into 3 sections I am attempting to illustrate the speed and strength of our local storms that can change a day, literally in a matter of minutes . Each picture standing alone seems to depict a different environment but when placed together the entirety is realized.  I chose to continue the image over the edges onto the sides of the canvas and they are meant to be hung so that the edges will be visible- alone but still connected to each other. I’ve started the final piece in the series which will be realized on a 5 foot by 4 foot canvas. I’ve used liquid masking ( the destroyer of good brushes so I always use ones that are already just a step away from the trash can) to mark my power lines and horizon to speed things along. The pen and ink is a close detail, the triptych a step back and now the larger canvas will hopefully pull the viewer back even further. The thought is to create the opportunity for the observer to grasp the whole idea. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the concept works on a larger scale.

* As a sort of addendum to the practice of letting pictures hang… I have a study hanging on my wall from 1999 that is signed but it isn’t varnished. I had put it up in my living room to live with it for a bit and see how I felt about it.  I never went back to it and only realized the passage of time when I mentioned it’s incomplete state to a guest and she noted that it had been dated over a decade prior (oops)… I still haven’t varnished the canvas but I’m pretty sure it’s done at this point. Perhaps it’s a case of “the tailor’s son running around with holes in his clothes”.   I’ve included pictures of that study from 1999 (bears) and another from 2007 (portrait) that just never got to the retail stage.  Perhaps as they both were derived from resource images found in magazines, they never made the transition from studies to finished pieces in my own perception, the end result speaking more to exploring different techniques than the actual subject matter.

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There are times when a project I’m working on seems to slow down. There may be a dozen reasons why or not even one but either way an impasse has been reached. When that happens I try to push forward by working on something else. My current untitled series has hit one of those road blocks. My second interpretation was to consist of a triptych (the image divided onto 3 canvases). I’ve started but things are a little “off”. I decided to work on a couple of small companion pieces instead. The female figure is based on a photograph of an historic interpreter I came across in a newspaper several years ago. The male figure is based on a photograph I took several years ago at a period museum re enactment event. I felt they would be good companion pieces as they reflected differences and similarities (agriculture, season, gender, period interpretation). The canvases are 5 x7 so it was a fun little project on the side. I worked for a number of years in the hand painted gift ware sector, mass producing folk art for the retail market. In small pieces I often see a reflection of those techniques. It’s not a purposeful act…more of a muscle memory thing perhaps.

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