Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Evolution of a Painting

I love seeing other artist's works in process and how they complete them so I thought I would share my process as well. I often start with one thing and end up with something completely different as I usually let the painting dictate to me how to paint it. I am not one to draw out and stick to a plan, being methodical and tight with what I hope to accomplish. I have an idea in regards to a theme or a vision or even a color pallet - but that is usually the starting place. The ending place, well, you never know with me.

These two 20" x 24" cradled panels are the largest size encaustic paintings I've ever done. I decided for the new year I was going to push my boundaries, in size and type of work (o you should see what is in process after I completed these paintings! That's another post.) I accepted a personal challenge to participate in an abstract show where every piece entered has to be 36" x 36". So waiting in the wings in my studio is a custom built cradled panel board at 36" x 36". I'm working my way up with the pieces posted here.

I started with a few layers of medium, some purples and red. I then collaged in some grass paper and while fusing the next layer of medium over the grass paper, parts of the paper kept catching on fire. (well ventilated studio is important!) I hadn't planned on burning the paper or leaving burn marks in the piece but it worked and it was fun.

Although I was on the edge of abstract, my subconcious love of landscape found its way into the painting with my next brush strokes of orange across the width of the painting, suggesting a mountain range of sorts.

I've done photo transfers in a lot of my encaustic paintings recently but had never done Joss Paper transfer so - the next step was working the bottom of the painting with Joss Paper transfer. I had gold foil Joss paper and when transferred, it looks pink. Did this transfer process with the water method of eliminating the paper backing by dissolving it with water.

I decided to follow the suggestive landscape and incised some shapes into the top of the painting which I then filled in with graphite to define the line work. I also painted the graphite over areas at the bottom of the painting including over some of the foil Joss paper transfer. More layers of medium. I then painted the shapes at the top of the paintings with titanium white oil paint allowing some of the underlying encaustic and graphite to show thru in areas.

Knowing when to stop has often been an issue for me. Is this painting done? Perhaps, for now at least, as I've learned to step back and live with it for awhile. It will speak to me, but now - it says leave me alone, I'm ok, walk away.

Update Jan 26, 2010:
Apparently the paintings weren't done after all. Couldn't connect the top to the bottom and too much open space in between. So the patterns in the background again dictated landscape and these rolling hills and tiny little buildings appeared. A little bit of a Taos Pueblo feeling perhaps. The places I visit in my dreams.

"Alchemy Between Dream & Awake #1"
Karon Leigh

"Alchemy Between Dream & Awake #2"
Karon Leigh

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a painter myself (rather a musician), but I greatly enjoy artists of any kind talking about their various working processes. Great read.