Thinking Time


“Tangled Grape Vines”  40″ x 60″ oil and metal leaf on canvas – $6,000

I have always spent more time thinking about my paintings than I have in actual application of the paint.  During its progress, I observe it in different lights, bring it into my house and see it in different rooms, photograph it and observe it on my computer in a smaller scale.

Traditionally, there are two forms of painting – “direct”, which is self explanatory, and “indirect”, where the surface is changed several times with scraping, washes applied, dripped on and sometimes, sanded.  This, hopefully, results in “happy accidents”, which can be exciting, or not so happy, which are then scraped, painted over or sanded some more.

My new technique of oil and metal leaf uses both methods – direct for the nature images and indirect for the background.  It also has introduced a new category – the “shimmer effect”.  This has caused me to be endlessly fascinated, but challenged on a daily basis.  After completing several paintings in this technique, I have learned how to cut down on several steps in the process and to anticipate some of the problems, but I still learn something new with each painting.

The shimmer of the metal leaf changes the appearance of the painting as the viewer moves past it.  Even the oil painted surface seems to change in value and color, so a photograph just shows one aspect of the painting.  Another aspect is that the metal leaf reflects other colors, particularly of what the viewer (or painter) is wearing.

The image above is a working photo and was photographed with the painting upside down because I wanted to observe the metal leaf in a different way.  That is why the lower right corner appears brighter.  It was because that corner was directly under my skylight.  The official photograph will be taken after another coating of sealer and a final coating of varnish.

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