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Monday, February 23, 2015

First Artists Inspire

Hidden Identities Continued

Blank canvas on easel.  Beginning a new work.

I believe that serendipitous situations have tremendous influence on art.  Contemplate this:  Last week I opened the January issue of National Geographic to find the lead article titled 'The First Artists' is all about the invention of symbolic expression, what it is and theories about how it came to be. This piece discusses ornamentation of body as well as cave art and amulets created by first humans.  This fits nicely with my newest series of work:  Hidden Identities.

Sketched on composition.

I devoured the article and then re-read it, and though I had already started this third canvas in the series, some of what I read influenced the direction of this painting.

Under painting.

More under painting.

Somewhere in the article there was talk about the tools used by the first artists, sticks being a part of those.  I found myself running out to collect sticks to introduce into the composition which was originally influenced by Aboriginal body decoration.




The addition of sticks to the canvas


Close up of the sticks on the canvas.

Cutting and scoring through the paint to reveal pigments applied earlier.

After initial addition of glazing techniques.

Unfinished painting on the easel.  More work to be done.

Though this work nears completion, it is not done.  Currently I am painting in a stripe of black through and behind the sticks which was originally intended to be a bold compositional line, however reading the National Geographic article and allowing new thoughts to work their way into the creative process has taken the composition in a little different direction....serendipity!  Perhaps this work will be titled:  Tools of the Trade.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Artistic Expression.

Story Telling With Art

Peace War-War Peace
40 x 40
Mixed Media
3200.

The art of transforming ourselves with make-up and masks, a universal art form that existed long before we applied pigments to cave walls or boards or canvases has inspired a new series of works titled Hidden Identities.  This is the second in the series, Peace War-War Peace.

Detail of Peace War-War Peace

Once again I approached the canvas with an idea, the idea of representing opposing themes of Peace and War.  You may ask why?  What inspired this theme?  

The day I completed the first canvas in this series, Yellowhammer Dreams, I stood at my kitchen sink cleaning brushes and saw out the window a scattering of feathers on the lawn.  Apparently a dove had given its life to a larger creature.  Because the previous work utilized feathers I was out the door to collect these distinctly marked beauties.

Detail of Peace War-War Peace with Dove Feather.

Immediate thoughts that the dove represents peace filled my mind, causing the opposing thought of war to surface. I recalled that within my recent research about tribal face and body painting I had read one theory that Plains Indian Warriors frequently used a hand print on their faces to symbolize success in hand to hand combat.  The artistic brain started to fire.

Detail of Peace War-War Peace

Back into the studio, blank canvas onto easel, layers of paint applied with drying time between, more layers of paint, allowing the pigment to become thick and cracked, a texture that is reminiscent of how these materials dry as a result of movement of the face and body.  I cut and scored through the layers to add texture and line, then painted my hands and pressed them onto the canvas,  added raffia and the dove feathers.  Over a period of several days this work came together in an intuitive way, inspired by historical face and body painting, telling the story of Peace and War.

Peace War-War Peace
40 x 40
Mixed Media

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE