Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Macha series - experiment 2 - final .. Embarking with iridescent pearl...

In my final experiment, I tried iridescent pearl in highlighted areas making sure to leave dull parts here and there for contrast...

The first photo is without a flash (I tried to show as many color nuances as possible as they vary with reflections and lighting). The second one is meant to show the iridescent pearl (reflections from buckling are artifacts). I used transparent glazes to attenuate iridescence in the background area and to avoid competition with the main subject. I think I'm off to the races with this technique... and I see definite potential for my "macha" series.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sunshine girl - step V... Another run at a "mind like water" exercise!

I've got my work cut out these days with renovation and repairs around the house. From time to time, when I'm fed up with the task at hand, I plug in some "not too serious" painting time...

I'm still dabbling in pool water design, focusing on the "mind like water" state of mind. One more pass and I think I'll get what I want... sort of!

Note: It would be interesting to try the epoxy finish on this one... in my new isolated varnishing room in the basement... to avoid collecting any relics from the cat!

Note to self: "I need to work in the same spirit when I paint facial features... at the limit of the unconscious!"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Macha series - experiment 2 - step II...Could this be a first step towards some real visceral work?

In the end, I elected to spread some iridescent steel around to try to create some movement...

Although I still need to work on this new technique of late, this portrait is more visceral than the first one... so maybe I'm on to something... a new discontinuity in my art!

Note: Iridescent pearl would be interesting to try in the hair and facial area for the full completion of this exercise and the sake of uniformity in different lighting conditions...

Although I don't want to make iridescence the cornerstone of my art, I'm curious to explore limits and possibilities with this avenue. In light of my "half failure" with this experiment, I see potential in using iridescence alla prima, like I just did with this 2nd layer or using it in the underpainting... but leveraging it. For the latter option, my usual method of painting with multiple transparent layers would be more appropriate. I realize there is no point using an iridescent underpainting if it's going to be obliterated for the most part by an opaque layer...

Note to self: "This new approach using a darker underpainting is giving me more freedom in that I can settle for much fewer layers and be able to live with results that are more expressive, more me! I can also vary grounds to my liking going for more drama or naturalism depending on the subject matter..."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Macha series - experiment 2 - step I... Taking a plunge in total darkness... literally!

Disregarding my previous pool scene for now, I couldn't resist my urge to experiment once again with a dark background for the "macha" series (I used a 24 X 24 piece of canvas)...

I tried iridescent copper and steel in the underpainting. The copper was smothered in paste and azo gold, so I lost the iridescence: I was too timid to use unadulterated copper! Moreover, I put streaks of steel in my dark background, only to find out that this generated way too much reflection for my liking! Needless to say, I'll have to revert back to my old ways to complete this painting. As for iridescence, if this first attempt was not too brilliant (pun intended), there is always the next time... to shine... and rise to the occasion!

A saving grace though, my art is starting to look like me... a bit rough on the edges!

Note to self: "Sooner than later, I'll have to put an end to these experiments... otherwise, there will be nothing left in me for the real series!"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sun shine girl - step IV ... slowly getting in the thick of it!

Another quick pass this morning gave me a better idea of where I can land ...

... with this water scene, a manner of speaking. I had to find a solution quickly since I can tread water for only so long! This painting is just for my personal pleasure... makes me feel good!

Note: I'd like to go for some halo effects and some more refinement (balancing colors and values) in the final stage...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sun shine girl - step III ... squeezing in some painting time!

I took an hour this morning to advance this painting ...

... using both the painting knife and the brush at the same time with both hands being occupied (I'm getting sloppy!). I'm not too serious about this one... considering the exercise as merely a "painting vacation" while still painting! I'm saving highlights and reflections for last...

Note to self: "The aqua color seems to have a soothing effect on me... something to keep in mind when I'm restless or have battle fatigue!"

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sun shine girl - step II ... riding the wave but not working too hard!

This morning, I felt like painting but without investing too much effort... as if painting a watercolor sketch ...

Painting water has this suiting effect on me... just thinking about color and movement but not much else... gee, like painting in an abstract fashion! This is a 30 X 30 canvas.

I will keep plugging away with my renovation in the basement, but may still be able to paint... by spurt!

Note to self: "If I want expressionism, I need to be able to live with results from my first impulses ... and, more and more, I have a sense that this is a palpable objective! My inclination to use transparent color layers over white canvas made this virtually impossible: there was never enough paint after a few layers for a "finished" commercial product to emerge. Working on a fairly opaque colored background though, still using transparent color layers, can circumvent this problem! The previous painting and the one above illustrate well the 2 approaches I'm referring to."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Macha series... the experimental phase before the plunge!

Before going to a larger scale, I felt compelled to try my luck working over a dark abstract pattern laid out fairly transparently...

... to see how it would feel. My method remains more or less the same as I tend to work transparently at least at the initial stage. I may have pushed this one too far for curiosity's sake in the exploration of a new technique; step one was already compelling and quite artistic in my view (although a bit raw)... step two looks more like a conventional portrait. I now see potential in trying to go for a finish on the first pass flat after the elaboration of the background! Once I gravitate to a larger format, the painting knife will kick in and I will be after much more abstracted renditions. Looks like I may be able to survive this new series! The title for the above painting will be: "Who do you think you are?"... it's a go!

Note: Interestingly, I've been reluctant in the past to use an opaque colored background as starting point for my paintings because of my watercolor practices. I now realize that I can use this avenue while remaining true to my painting principle of transparency. Moreover, the idea of slowly making an image emerge from nothingness (an abstracted background) with less emphasis on the line appeals to me a lot... it's a departure from Chinese black ink but a nice tie in with Zen painting and the philosophy behind it. I want my painting process to be liberating... not just mere image making!

Note to self: "I want machas that will knock machos' socks off!"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

These days, I let the garden do the talking... instead of my art!

The renovation of the laundry room in the basement is progressing according to plan. I hope to resume painting next week...

For the time being, the garden is filling my artistic needs! I've got two paintings to complete though...

Note to self: "Periods of latency may be necessary to evolve in art... sort of like breaking the rhythm and allowing some form of renewal to take place..."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dreamed about the jaguar... obsessed by the creation of images that emerge from total darkness!

Recently, by some hazard, my attention was drawn to the works of artists using black steel with some rust as a painting surface. This along with my experience from the Yoga series have sent me on the path to image creation "from the dark" (dark background) as opposed to "from the light" (white canvas).

Last night I had a weird dream about a jaguar where I seemed to be in control, a good omen... so the timing seemed to be perfect to make a bold experiment...

This was the result after 45 minutes of work on a loose piece of canvas (20 X 24)... I want the face to emerge totally natural with vibrant colors while capitalizing on the imperfections from the background. I see an advantage in separating abstraction from figuration, i.e., dealing with them separately (the background was done first). It's sort of akin to not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time!

Note: It's strange that I dreamed about a jaguar. I have no allegiance to the animal except that I've been in Guatemala and Mexico and that I like the Spanish pronunciation of the word "jaguar". The animal is associated with power, agility and speed... and the realization of long term goals (dream interpretation).

Note to self: "I seem to get restless in-between series, in a quest for something new. I need to channel this restlessness into action... perhaps using the spirit of the jaguar in its solitary pursuits!"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Painting with flowers... the mind makes no difference!

These days, chores around the house are taking a toll on my painting time. In a way though, I'm still painting...

... but using flowers instead of paint! Although my mind should not make any difference, I'm starting to get itchy feet on the artistic painting side. Psychologically speaking, it seems to be a mixed bag of "wanting to verify if I'm still able to paint" and "simply wanting to paint again"!

I decided to make a move this afternoon with a pool scene...

... that I captured at a friend's place last year. As I took the picture, the sun flashed in the pool area creating unbelievable light effects. Although the girl was once featured in the Toronto Sun as a sunshine girl... I want to make water reflections the primary focus!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Yoga pose XX final... Marking the end of the series!

I pretty much gave everything I had to give for this Yoga series... and it's starting to show!

All in all, it was a good experience on textural effects and the use of highly saturated colors. Pure abstraction still escapes me... but if I keep confronting this demon... I'm bound to see the light at the end of the tunnel one of those days! Hopefully, it's not gonna be a train!

Meanwhile, I'm playing photographer in preparation for my next series...

... things are looking up!