Thursday, January 31, 2008

Concentric - progress continues

Today it was all about the wings.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Concentric - progress continues

I know it doesn't look like much progress, however I've added another two coats of pale colour to the women's arms, cross-hatching of cerulean blue over four coats of cobalt blue over three coats of ultramarine blue; an orange glaze over the red background, two glaze coats over the wings and two more coats of sienna/burnt umber to the hair. The size of the canvas makes this a slow process, but I'm pleased with how it's coming along.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Concentric (detail)

And now the fun part begins - bringing some life in the way of colour and movement to the image.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

Concentric update

Here's today's progress. The image illustrates 7 generations of women; the arms of the previous generation forms the ribs of the current generation and their feet, stacked atop one another, form a beehive.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The underpainting for "Concentric"

Here's the underpainting so far - it's 60" x 48". I find it difficult to evaluate the image when I'm standing before such a large canvas in my small studio, however, looking at it here, on my blog, it's instantly apparent where corrections need to be made. I'll sort out the corrections tomorrow and next week I'll start painting in earnest.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Back to the drawing board

I've set Mask aside for a bit and am figuring out the math for Concentric. I'm sure there's some geometric equation that would make this all so much easier - perhaps I should have paid more attention last century when I was in math class ... groan.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mask, middle layer part 2

Whew ... this was a task: cutting around the edges with a scroll saw; sanding the edges, attacking the nooks and crannies with a box cutter and Exacto blade, more sanding, more exacto cleanup, and sand again. Next I'll be priming the edges, painting them with acrylic, and cleaning up the surface before adding a clear topcoat to the leaves - the centre must be kept free of dust and topcoat to allow for proper adhesion when I add a spacer layer and then the top layer.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Mask, middle layer

Here's the second layer in progress: first, the outline incorporating all the colours of the rainbow (7 - you know how attached I am to the number 7); second, the outline filled in with 3-4 layers of paint to produce a dark base (so many layers because most of the colours I employ are translucent); third, the veins of the leaves are painted in and then layers of gradually lightened colours are applied to give a 3-d look to the leaves; fourth, a detail of the gradual lightening, the red and green leaves are nearly finished while the orange and yellow leaves are not.

Monday, January 07, 2008


Today was the first all day studio day of the year, and by gosh and by golly it felt good to be in the midst of creation all day! Here are the stages I completed for the top layer of MASK. I must admit my brain struggled to control my right arm so that I didn't overwork the piece; I thought back to my second semester painting class in college, more than 15 years loooooong ago: I can still hear the instructor, Isabel McAslan, a fiery redhead with an even more fiery temper, yelling at me, "Oh for God's sake, Barbara, LOOSEN UP!" By the time I had finished my fourth semester I had learned to paint loosely but it bored me and lacked a distinctive style. I don't care much for the generic paintings visible on walls of numerous galleries throughout BC - all those atmospheric landscapes in shades of gray and muted earth tones; trees in the mist, etc. YAWN. They could have been painted by any of the dozens of painters attempting to emulate each other's style to create gallery-dictated works for commercial success - you know, those paintings that match the couch. The ancient Egyptians come to mind: their artists' paintings were created in the exact same style for more than 2,000 years, and where did it get them? Mummified into obscurity. Anyway, back to my original story... By my final term in college I had accepted my colourful palette and angular style and had created a body of work that caused my scupture instructor, Kent, (I painted my sculptures and sculpted my paintings) to refer to my style as "Barbarafication". I don't think he necessarily meant it as a positive thing (if you check the link above, you'll see his beautiful works are sleek, minimal, and lacking in colour), however, I was delighted to have my works assessed as bearing an original sstyle. Today I happily embrace "Barbarafication" and all the art-related deviations that created it. Indeed, I often maniacally laugh aloud, ah-ha-ha-ha, and rub my hands together a la Igor of Frankenstein fame, as I irreverently break the "art rules" taught to me in various courses and imagine the disturbed looks upon my instructors' faces. Breaking and twisting those rules allowed me to develop artistically in a way adherence to convention would never allow. Nothing flatters me more than when someone tells me my work is instantly recognizable (actually, I'm more flattered when someone buys my work).

Stay tuned tomorrow for another update.


Mentally, I've been working on this painting for the Leap Collective exhibition word "MASK" for 2 months. I started it on a smaller board, scrapped it (too small), and now that I've improved the concept and mapped out the process, I'm optimistically starting over again. Here's the wood panel I've drawn my image upon, cut, sanded, gessoed, sanded again, gessoed, sanded again, and finally brushed lines upon. The second image shows the undercoat with the image showing through. This panel will be the top layer of the three panels stacked atop one another to complete the piece.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Segue nearly completed

Here's the painting about 85% complete and a side view showing the wraparound.

Thursday, January 03, 2008