Birth of The Visionary

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Today you get to visit me at work.

The work in question is a visual metaphor conveyed through simple elements: in a barren landscape, a lone organism (resembling a cactus flower) sprouts from hard-edged, geometric elements, and emits a cluster of messages into the night, which may or may not eventually be heard.

For paintings on wood, I make my own substrates. Here a solid, heavy 24″ x 48″ birch panel has been sealed, primed, and hand-sanded to a smooth eggshell finish, a process taking approximately one week of continuous work to complete in dry weather. Not visible here are the mounting provisions on the back; a steel cable held by hooks double-anchored directly into the wood. The edges and rear surface are painted black. Rubber feet are placed at each corner to prevent the hard edges of the wood from scraping the wall if the painting is to hang unframed.

On this board, a detailed graphite sketch (here barely visible) and the beginnings of an acrylic underpainting are laid out.

The acrylic underpainting solidifies the location and volumetric character of the composition’s elements and provides a color field to begin building the sky on. When the acrylic layers are dry, the oil layers follow.

Depth in the dark blue sky is achieved by applying consecutive translucent layers composed of a 50/50 mixture of Prussian Blue and Ivory Black, thinned with orange rind spirits and poppyseed oil, and progressing towards transparency at the horizon line.

After several passes and their mandatory drying periods, the basic sky is arrived at.

A last, carefully blended translucent layer is applied to create the athmospheric gradient. The base color of the ground field has been applied as well. Note that the last layer covers the flower’s emissions, which is fine since their outlines are still perfectly visible through the translucent paint.

The acrylic shadows of the rocky ridge on which the dead tree/cactus flower is standing are deepened.

The star field is painted in, and right with it…

…the flower’s emissions, a cluster of shreds of silky material carried off into the night by the breeze.

The colors for the cactus flower are mixed on an oil-rubbed, plasticized masonite palette. The white surface of the palette helps test the color transparency before it is applied. For the flower petals and stem I am using premium grade, high-density pigments.

Work begins on the petals…

…and continues down the stem. The geometric elements at the base are rendered, followed by the rocky ledge. Finally, the ground field is darkened and texture added to it… and The Visionary comes to life, the product of endless hours spent with a 1/8″ flat brush in aching hand…

You will find a complete image of the finished work in the Paintings page.

Thank you for visiting me today, hope to see you at the show! 🙂


2 Responses to “Birth of The Visionary”

  1. six06 Says:

    i just discovered your website and came over to check out your blog. i was FLOORED when i saw this progression. this is simply amazing. you are truly gifted.

  2. johnhoma124 Says:

    Your work has always been a great source of inspiration for me. I refer you blog to many of my friends as well.

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