Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sixth State: Five More Layers on This Years Distressed Painting Mixed Media Christmas Card

I continue to write about the many steps involved in creating our 2016 Christmas Card. It is a process that I return to over time as I also work on other art projects.

Just five layers to go and the painting will be done! However, I’ve several other projects in progress so will not return to the card until August. It should be done toward the end of that month.  The final steps will include; 1) decide which portion of the painting will be photographed for the actual card, 2) Photograph and crop the image, 3)  the card design (inside and outside) created and sent off to the printer.  Unlike my usual mad rush to finish, this card should be done well before mailing time for the holidays.

Friday, May 13, 2016

2016 Christmas Card: 5th State

I continue to write about the many steps involved in creating our 2016 Christmas Card. It is a process that I return to over time as I also work on other art projects.

After I scraped through the blue layer of tempera it was necessary to spray the artwork with several light coats of pastel fixative so that a coat of water based UV proof varnish could be applied without lifting the tempera paint. Once that layer was dry I made a 10 by 10 inch print of the digital photo I had taken of the mixed media distressed painting in its 3rd state. I tore that print in pieces and laminated some of those over top of the artwork.* Another coat of UV proof varnish was applied, and once that had dried I took photographs again.

I have at least 9 more layers to do before I can call the painting finished, so please stay tuned for the 6th  and 7th state of our 2016 Christmas Card.

*laminate – to glue two flat surfaces together using a continuous layer of adhesive

Friday, May 6, 2016

2016 Christmas Card: 4th State

Doing the following created the 4th state:

1. spray the painting with several light coats of pastel fixative
2. a coat of water based varnish was brushed over the latest layer of tempera paint
3. cover the painting heavily with oil crayon and rub it with an eraser
4. apply a new coat of light pthalo-blue tempera paint
5. scrape through the new layer of tempera paint after it was dry.

Stay tuned for the 5th state of our new Christmas Card

Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 Christmas Card: Third State

After 4 more layers the painting is now dominated by red-violet lavender instead of orange, though that is still prominent. The four layers are the following; 1) ultraviolet light resistant varnish, 2) laminated images, 3) wax, 4) lavender paint. After those 4 layers I subjected the paint to scraping, with various instruments, and finally sprayed lightly with fixative.* I have laminated a smaller image of the Madonna and Child by Ambrogio Bergognone (known as Borgognone) over the first, as I shall do again for the Forth State in an attempt to telescope that image. I don't know if that technique will work because the mixed media distressed process may cover all but the final image completely. But, then again, it may not. That is what makes working with this technique so much fun. It creates its own mystery and history. It is like an archeological dig of an ancient historical sight in reverse, each layer of detritus reveals and/or obscures various epochs. However, instead of cutting back through the ground, I'm building it one layer at a time.


*Laminate - to fasten two flat surfaces together with a continuous layer of mastic or glue.
  fixative - varnish, usually aerosolized.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2016 Christmas Card: 2nd State

I promised to post the artwork as it progresses. Here is the panel with 4 more layers. It is now predominantly orange, but that will change. I know I want to telescope the Madonna and Child by Ambrogio Bergognone (known as Borgognone) so that the final image appears to be moving forward, however slightly that might be. Because the larger images will be buried in layers of paint, my desires for the painting may be lost in the process. As we must relinquish complete control over our lives more often than we would wish, so the mixed media distressed painting process mimics life.

The next time I post an image of the artwork it will include the following; 1) this digital photo will have been printed at the exact size of the painting/collage, 2) it will have been torn to pieces randomly, and some of these will have been laminated back into the painting either before or after l include a smaller image of the Bergognone, 3) Then the whole will possibly be covered in a shade of muted green, though I’m not sure about that color yet.* I haven’t thought beyond that state, and will not until the actual physical object has caught up to my imaginings. Ah, the mystery of it all is so much fun!


* laminate - in collage/montage, a layer of glue is spread on the artwork itself and another on the back of the torn/cut paper to be glued in place. the new piece is carefully smoothed into place, rubbing from the center to the edges in order to remove trapped air.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Harmony" Art Card Is In Process

I’ve been working on the next art card, “harmony.” At first I used colors that looked more like “Blitzkrieg!” So I moved on to cooler colors blues and greens. I still wasn’t happy, so I toned the colors and movement down more. The wavy lines are meant to represent tones. I doubled lengths so that the tones represented might be harmonious. However, it was necessary to keep all at low amplitude (no big zigzagging up and down curves) so as to keep everything harmonious visually. In the third image I added type, and the word "harmony" using 72 pt. bold Century Gothic font.

"Blitzkrieg Harmony"

“I – Yah-e – Yah-e -eye!” The active voice begins to sound so egotistical! But, to write from a passive perspective is too weak, so I’ll stop being a literary critic and keep on with the analysis of the process involved in problem solving the representation of “harmony.”

"Toned Down Harmony"

I like to hide things in the art card images, as I also do in mixed media distressed painting. So various definitions of the word harmony are layered into the artwork and the words fade in and out of colors and the wavy lines.

The best "Harmony" so far

It will be necessary to have two sides to the card, and I’ve only begun to think about a second side. However, I’m not sure I’ve found the right image for the first side. Perhaps I’ll move on to the second side and my concerns about the first will have been resolved subconsciously when I return to the first.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Mixed Media Distressed Painting In Process

This year’s Christmas card - yes, it is the end of March 2016. So, why am I working on a Christmas card now? Because I’m doing a mixed media distressed painting that involves perhaps as many as 50 or 60 layers before it is finished, and I can sandwich these layered steps between working on other art works including other mixed media distressed paintings. The process involves two different kinds of paint, glue, polyurethane, digital photography, Adobe Photoshop, oil crayon, and collage and dechirage, all mixed up together in a concoction that is sort of like a complicated soup. It is a process that I enjoy doing tremendously.*

At this stage I have 10 layers in the painting, and I like the dominant color, and the images that peak through the distressed layers of paint. However, it looks nothing like the final painting because this stage will be hidden beneath 40 to 50 more layers. That is part of what makes the process so much fun. Images appear, disappear and reappear entirely or in bits and pieces creating a sense of mystery and history, at least for me, the artist. I am depending on the acuity of viewers to pick up on that sense of mystery and/or history, and I know that may not always happen.

Never the less, the process is what makes mixed media distressed painting so enjoyable. I will continue to post photos of the painting at various stages of development up to the final image for the card, which will be posted as a Christmas greeting at the end of the year.


*D├ęchirage -I include here a link to Wikipedia entry on decollage which includes a definition of d├ęchirage.