Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Other New Painting

I have this one stored in my portfolio folder under the title Dawn on the Ortiz but rather like Listening to the Clouds better after a poem I posted here before. I posted this one on Chats with Charley too and the finished version of the painting in the blog below is also posted there.

This painting is a bit of a departure for me in subject matter. It is not a church or a visionary canyon but closer to pure landscape of New Mexico. It is visionary only in color and a certain dream like reality. But I rather like it. Am tempted to keep it for myself because of the memories associated with this piece of highway for me.

Today I am beginning work on two far more visionary works: one a church with ghosts and the other a canyon with goddesses and a gecko.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Are We There Yet?

This is my newest painting. I don't think it is done yet so I photographed it. I find that when I see the image on my computer screen it allows a distance and objectivity I cannot necessarily achieve with the canvas. This is especially true of my medium to large works. This one, as yet unnamed, is 20 x 24.

This is one of my Goddess series paintings and as such should have a one named title (without the The). Previous ones in the series have been The Journey, The Source, The Passage, The Sentries. I am thinking of Font or Spring.

I experimented with some glazes in this work. All my watercolor friends talk of glazes. I used a white glaze over the canyon walls beyond the central figure to provide distance. I had a watercolor teacher in college that was very fond of the white glaze. And I made greater use of lettering nibs and ink instead of "sharpies" or Pentel pens. It gives a variance of line I find I prefer even if they are more difficult to handle.

I think I would like to approach this subject in a vertical canvas at some date but I have awaiting me an unfinished landscape and two large churches with a paranormal theme. So later. Then of course there is decided whether this one is done.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

At Last

The first two paintings of 2009. Oh, what is it about January? I have sketched, plotted, traced, laid out on canvas and not dipped a brush into paint until yesterday. And these two paintings are in actuality experiments as they are on a gesso canvas instead of a watercolor canvas.

It was quite a different painting experience. And I wanted at first to force them to look like my other paintings. But gesso is not absorbent so paint behaves differently. And as most gesso prepared canvases are for acrylic or oil paintings it has a coarser tooth. That would be the painter term - tooth. Costume designers would talk about the weave or strands per square inch.

The tooth made it not unlike painting upon a rough watercolor paper. There is more "white" that is not covered and which adds a "light" to the painting. And the courseness stiffles details. The non-absorbency of the gesso surface made paint want to bead off the surface. That was a bit bothersome and time consuming. But the plus part of this more paint resistant surface is color could be lifted off back to the pure white of the canvas.

I particularly liked this in the skies. The clouds could have very white parts. And with a brush of clean water or a cue tip paint could be lifted off and the clouds sculpted.

So will I paint again on gesso canvas? Yes, I think I will. I think it will lend itself to vast canyon landscapes with huge skies.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Creative Void Or Avoidance

I started doing some painting today. Doing the skies on three new church paintings. All of them are experiments of sorts. Two being on a Gesso canvas instead of absorbent ground as I usually use. And one was a Gesso canvas that I applied thick and textured layers of absorbent ground too.

Churches are a good subject for me to experiment with as there is not that much experimentation in the subject matter as with my canyon pieces. I am not entirely sure how these three paintings will turn out but I had to jump start my creative juices somehow even if I dressed it up as a lab experiment.

So there I was getting into the different way the liquid watercolors were behaving on these varied surfaces and along comes the real world with an urgent legal issue that must be addressed. But surprisingly I went back to painting after making some calls and faxing some documents. So where I had a void of creativity I now was using creativity to avoid.

The above picture of a non-Catholic church in a little rural town was in my file of "churches to paint". I took it for the spire detail. Just one of those bits and pieces lying around the studio waiting to be picked up and worked into something creative.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Voice of the Clouds

Today has been one in which I have been blown here and there off the course I had set for the day. The choice is to resent that or realign my goals to the universe as it would have.

Voice of the Clouds

Just a leaf
Blowing in the breeze
Relieved of all Choices
Letting Go

I drift
Devoid of thought of direction
Bobbing upon the ripples
Of a cascading stream
The Direction I take
Not of my control.

A leaf
In the wind
A seed pod
Upon the waves
A mind free floating
Letting go

Only be
Go as a feather
So you can hear
The voice of the clouds.

(c) J. Binford-Bell February 2009