Monday, February 9, 2009

Approaching the Process

My graduate school thesis was titled "Approaching the Process". I was very involved in understanding my process of processing this thing called art. I still am. I am always trying to see the under lying structure of things, even in my imagery and that is why I have decided to show this to you. For the next three months I am committed to blogging about my process.
What this means is that you will be privy to some very private workings in my studio and in my head. I didn't come to this magical moment all alone. I have been thinking about this since I have seen other painters do this on their blogs and recently, when I asked fellow blogger a question about the best way to go about marketing my artwork on the Internet he suggested it as well.
And you thought I was doing this because It was good for my soul? Lets just say that I have long ago given up the novel idea that art is a spiritual practice. I realized along the way that I am not that "holy" and I seem to have left my halo somewhere back in 1968. Art for me is a business. I do it today because I am in the business of making art. I am an image maker and as such I am promoting my images. Art does not feed my ego. Art does not fulfill my longing to be somebody. I am somebody. I am an artist and I am in the business of making art to sell art. So there you have it. My desire is to bring to you my process so that you can understand how I make the art that I LOVE to sell. Preferably on the Internet and most preferably on this blog.

Oh yeah...aside from all this did I mention I am working on a Doctorate in Higher Education. Its a fancy degree so that I can become a better teacher. I teach Design at the local community college. And have been working on my doctorate for 3.5 years now. I have to take 24 hours in my knowledge area--ART--and this semester, I am working on an independent study. What this means is that I am under contract to perform a great deal of art. I have to finish two of these paintings a week over a period of twelve weeks which means I will conjure up 24 images. I have been instructed to seek out this direction which has been labeled "scrolls" by my instructor. No pressure here for this artist.....

At the present time, I am working on two paintings in my studio. Both are derivatives from a previous painting posted on this blog. Both show the two ways I like to approach the process. Both show how I am very interested in the underlying structure of things. Both reveal my process and my words will further guide my readers on "my approach to the process"

Today's images reflect the first two sessions of both paintings.

The underlying structure...these are my explorations into the underlying structure of objects collected on my hikes. I like to refer to these objects as "earth objects"

This is what my canvas looks like on the wall before I add any images on either canvas.
I like to take old canvases that are unsuccessful and overlay new images. This give lots of spacial texture and depth.

Next is the gesso and carving into process. This is where I slather the canvas with gesso and carve the image back into it with the butt of a paintbrush.
I add some purple color after the gesso is dry. The gesso has to dry for 24 hours before I can do this. This is a staining process so the paint gets down inside the grooves of the markings.
After adding color I like to sand back the image with sand paper to uncover the texture on the surface again. This is pure painting archeology.
And finally to end today's session I tone the painting down again with an orange overlay. This is where I leave off to think about what is next. As I am walking into the computer room I decide that the next session will start out with some specific color areas of paint. I will begin to focus into the painting and get some detail on the surface with more mid-tones and then some high lighting.
Painting number two is the other way I like to approach the process. Instead of carving and sanding and staining the canvas and then re staining and doing the multi layered approach. This is straight painting. I simply am blocking in the dark areas of my color onto a stained background.

As you can see these are two very different approaches to the painting process. The first approach which I like to call the "underlying structure" approach requires a lot of steps to get the image where I want it to be before I begin painting any detail. This approach is one that I use to produce my experimental work.

The second approach, which is more of a direct approach to painting is more traditional. I painted the underground and then I block in the dark areas of the image. This approach is what I use to produce my naturalistic imagery. You can see this approach in most of the paintings on this blog.

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