Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A series? Piece Number 3

Off The Beaten Path
4" x 4" Acrylic and chalk pastels on 3/4" MDF Board

I finished the above piece today (see 1st pic) and once again, the outcome was a total surprise to me. For starters I began with a totally different idea. I painted a path, some side hills and the back mountains and sky. My plan was for flat blocks of color with a very hard edged figure placed at the foot of the path. Well, I got my ideas crossed and before I knew it I had decided to sand the block to get some marks and texture.  I started looking around for a figure to put in the scene. My first effort didn't work and so I had to re-gesso and re sand the block. (Note to self-DO NOT make pen marks until figure is how it should be!) This was actually OK because it forced me to totally abandon any ideas or marks that I might have been hanging on to. And actually this is the point of this post. I am finding that for this type of work, having a real concrete vision of what the block should look like is really detrimental to the outcome. I totally lose all perspective and spontaneity once I start thinking like that. Case in point is the sanding direction that I chose initially-horizontal only. OK, but then just for the hell of it I went diagonally and got really excited by the lines and spaces that were created. And to further my point here, after applying more paint I obscured those marks (pretty much) with further directional sanding which turned out to be even better (to me). Those clouds sort of got created where there was only blue sky before and I found some darker lines to further support some shapes. Those darker lines led me to try the chalk pastel pencils which also proved to be a good reinforcing tool when used judiciously. You just can't go over and over them I guess without a fixative of some sort I guess.

So, these three pieces have been exciting for me to make. I included them all to illustrate my next point which is this: what about the same style or concept over and over again? To me, the draw is the push and pull of ambiguity versus more concrete things. The figures are obviously figures (concrete) but it's their attitudes that interest me (open to interpretation). The latest figure seems determined somehow to me and that is exciting. The really amazing thing is that I took that figure out of its original context and placed it in another situation and got a totally different idea. But could you stand a whole room full of this? A whole exhibit? And so I am considering technique change ups or how I might switch up this concept. Of course, given what I mentioned above about preconceived notions, I may not know just yet what to do. Which again, for lack of a better adjective, is exciting to me. It's very different from how I am as a person and how I learned (am learning) how to paint. But it won't be the only style I ever utilize. For now though, the sanding and painting and fitting-puzzle-pieces-together nature of this process is interesting enough to keep going.

Thanks for reading and commenting,


  1. At 4", it's going to take a very large amount of these to fill a whole room! Enjoy the experimenting. Not everything has to have an end purpose.

  2. First, let me say how wonderful these pieces are.

    I echo the above from Debra - enjoy the discovery. It is most likely far too soon to even know how this works for you. If Plochmann was the light that set you off on this voyage then you can rest assured she spent years in and out of the scraping, sanding, inking and changing through many other wonderful discoveries.

    I like what you are doing very much, but it is radically different from your regular vision and the key could be to be working larger with a little of your two areas of styles together. What do you think?

  3. Well I do not know what is right or wrong about moving from one style into another but I do really like these and would enjoy a show of these. Each gives off a different feel and mood.
    I would vary the sizes and perhaps do some with multiple figures. Even one the size of a real person where you could feel like you are walking into it with them could work as your focal piece. I think you could get enough variety to interest the viewer for sure!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it! I reply back in an email if you are signed in and I can see your address. Otherwise I will post the reply here under your comment. I tend to cut and paste my emails too so that others can experience the back and forth which I think is integral to blogging.