From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Posts Tagged ‘painting

in-process on “Between the Lines (Experience Exchange)”

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sprectrum-side These are the first set of “pages” for participants in Between the Lines (Experience Exchange) to write on.  The materials are translucent acrylics on vellum with bookbinding thread sewn into the tops to tie them into the structure.

The piece was commissioned by the College of the Redwoods for their annual Book of the Year celebration.  This year’s book is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The structure of the piece is a large sculpture created a s a physical framing of some of the book’s core concepts  (I saw them, but also based  on interviews with the author, reviews, and discussions with other people).  The questions also derive from the book, and will ask participants to respond with their own related experiences.



Painting Challenge- leaving it rough

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I pushed through a rough spot in the studio yesterday (not least because I forgot my headphones and had to paint through other people’s music and conversations).  I have been struggling with the Pieta painting and how I want to make objects in the alleyway fade in and out of distinction.   I want the figures themselves, especially the Mother figure to be more classical Renaissance in style, eternal-feeling, more real than the surroundings, but the alley/background needs to be less distinct.

It could be blended and fogged, faded, abstract… there are so many ways to go.

Yesterday I had a lot of pent-up, agitated energy.  I almost didn’t paint, but then I felt that it was exactly the energy that should go into the background.  As I started to paint the supporting objects for the figure (a tent-bag, folded blankets, a roll of foam, cardboard sheets) I found myself drawn to a larger brush than usual and went with it.  Bold strokes came out and I found myself loving the space behind them showing the underpainting.

This is hard.

It’s hard to leave those raw marks and not fuss over them.  There is a tendency towards smoothing things out and making them more representational if you know how (something I see when I’m tutoring or teaching a class all the time).    …but when I look at other paintings, those rough ones are the marks I love best.

I think this is my answer.  I’m going to rough it all in in this style, leaving gaps to the under-painting and then pick out tiny portions of objects to add detail to.   I want a little of that dream-feeling that objects only gain detail when you look at them closely and become indistinct otherwise.  I want it to feel in-motion, impermanent, to highlight the rock that is the mother-figure.  I think the “child” figure will have aspects of both.

The whole experience was a uncomfortable and unbalancing, but also refreshing in a way.  It’s a sign of growth- we can’t learn new things when we stay in our comfort zone at all times, and I intend to keep learning.

The painting I find most sublime is when someone can play surprising elements against each other: rough against smooth, figurative against abstract, digital against organic.  It goes with the obsession with liminality and paradox.

Written by Mary Corey March

January 6, 2012 at 1:28 am