Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Gestural Painting"

(Abstract Study with Palette Knife and Water Soluble Oils on Cradled Gessobord)

There is no quote for this piece, but I do have several recognizable words such as dynamic...serendipity...and energy. They all describe where I am trying to go now with my palette knife work. This is just the starting point and will end up looking more like an abstract landscape in much larger sizes.

I began this piece with the light blue covering the entire surface of a 16" x 20" cradled gessobord. Working in water soluble oils, I painted in some rectangular shapes of the different colors you see in the painting. After those were in place, I wrote into the paint with a pointed shaper tool since the paint was very thick.

The next part is exciting. I took a palette knife that looks very much like a spatula for spreading icing on a cake and swiped horizontally through all of the layers of paint. There was more writing created with an extremely sharp pointed palette knife followed by more swipes with the larger knife.

In addition to removing paint, I also added some of the same colors back in to make sure the light blue was dominant and the orange created some alternating effects. This type of painting is a rather chaotic process, but there are several things that make it work.

The most important is the use of a limited palette. All of these colors are appearing in various tints, shades, and intensities. If colors are used in all of their intensity throughout the painting, a "garish" look is the result.

The other important factor is the design principle of dominance. One color must dominate a piece in order to have unity. There is also a wide range of values as seen on the gray scale. That too is important. If the darks are not dark enough or the lights are not light enough, the piece lacks the contrast of value that is so critical in creating depth. And values are the most subtle of the design elements and can sneak up on any artist.

This piece may or may not ever be exhibited, but it does take me back into palette knife painting with a renewed energy. And there you have it...just a few more things to think about.

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