A Delicate Dance

Posted by on Dec 30, 2016 in Blog | No Comments

What I am really interested in right now is a dance between seemingly opposite things. It is a delicate balance between looseness and control, flatness and dimension, flat space and deep space, abstraction and representation, larger brushstrokes/areas of color and smaller details. I am not planning these decisions formally, but instead am responding to these ideas as I am working. I think of it as a delicate dance because it is a fragile co-existence that I am searching for visually that can suddenly change within a painting as I am working on it, and also can change focus from one painting to the next. Let me use these three recent paintings to expand upon these ideas further.

manzanita

Manzanita, © 2016

In Manzanita, I was working on the reddish-purplish branches of the tree. Suddenly my internal alarms were telling me “Too representational! Too representational!” The orange flat area of color quickly took care of that yet I still wanted it to read as a tree — thus the flat drawn lines was my response. Using overlapping colors I am still creating somewhat a sense of space, but it is a shallow space compared with the deeper space created in Rock Scramble below. Manzanita’s focus is on the surface of the painting, playing with looseness and control, and abstraction and representation.

Lake Hill, © 2016

Lake Hill, © 2016

I painted Lake Hill next and it has a completely different feel. This painting initially began horizontally using a lush rainforest photograph to inspire. I turned the painting vertically to work on an area and my brain visualized a deep space with lakes that I found curious so the painting followed in that direction. What I find interesting in this painting is the flat areas of color work together to create an illusion of deeper space — a lake in the foreground, a hill, and then several lakes receding in the background, yet the lines and flat color always remind you of the surface, i.e. the flatness of the painting, a non-dimensional space. This painting is definitely more controlled than loose, in fact, more controlled than I think I want to be right now.

Rock Scramble, © 2016

Rock Scramble, © 2016

My next painting was Rock Scramble. I’m excited in this painting by the combination of all of the things I describe in the first paragraph. There is a balance for me between looseness and control both in the brushwork and overall composition. There are areas of flat space, such as the front of the main rock face, yet simultaneously there are areas of dimension –you feel like you can move through the space in front of this rock. The whole rock itself is made up of areas of outlined flat spaces, but the shape and colors give it some dimension. There is also a sense of deeper space felt from the foreground to the background, like you could actually be standing in this landscape. I am using both larger brushes to create bigger areas of color and smaller brushes for more detail, while keeping some of the smaller strokes loose and some more linear and controlled. For me, the balance between abstraction and representation seems to work. The image could be evocative of rocks and water and landscape yet it is far from representational.

Onward!