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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Color Field Painting with Found Objects

Can Found Objects Be A Part Of This?

Work in Process

See Where You Are.  That's the title of my book and in it I advocate not only looking around but taking the time to actually see what surrounds you. Look, see, observe, engage.  This thought has permeated my life and work. Because of this, I observe and see objects when I am walking, biking, hiking, rowing, in my get it. Little things that have fallen or been dropped, washed up on a shore, litter even (well, it doesn't look like litter to me).   I am constantly picking up objects that appeal to me, knowing that they will some day be worked into a painting or become part of a sculpture.  The studio fills with all this wonderful and interesting stuff and it reminds me of that particular walk or ride and place.   

Found Objects

So here I am working, experimenting, with Color Field as an inspiration.  Remember that Color Field painting was a major step forward in abstract work, the first style to avoid a form or mass standing out against the background of the painting. The canvas was covered with pigment, conceived as one field, but adding found objects would be adding a form.  

All The Poppies In The Moat

After recent completion of the painting,  All The Poppies In The Moat, a shadow box canvas went onto my easel. Application of several pigments and scoring through the wet paint with a palette knife gave the canvas a color field appearance, but the inset box was calling for something three dimensional.  Would this still be considered a Color Field painting if I added actual objects? 

The beginning of the Color Field inspired painting on a shadow box canvas.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a container that held a few items picked up off a beach several years ago.  At one time these little items had been glued together to make a tiny little found object sculpture that sat on a shelf to remind me of a stroll along a white sand beach.... hmmmmm....  now looking at them in reference to this shadow box canvas sparked the idea of adding them to this painting.

Objects found on a beach.

Intuition had me reaching for a tube of Prussian Blue to emulate the color of the ocean, then a glaze of Quinacridone Gold to bring more life and energy to the canvas, and finally a high gloss varnish was applied to the entire surface.

After addition of Prussian Blue and Quinacridone Gold.

The edges of the canvas were painted with the blue and when turning the canvas to cover all edges with the pigment I realized the canvas appealed more to me turned sideways.

Canvas now turned sideways.

The found objects were added, a doll leg, a root section of kelp, sea shell, and a rusty smashed bottle cap.

Beach Walk
16 x 16

When I started this series of work I knew it might become something more than Color Field painting but had no idea what might happen.  This is only the second work in the series and already there is a deviation.  Though Color Field work was the beginning inspiration, the addition of found objects has made it something else all together.  Does it work?  I think so.

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