Thursday, February 6, 2014

Finding the Path. Using the Path.

 The main problem with having a studio space away from home is the limited blocks of time that can be spent on production. I can't afford to drive there whenever I have a break. Besides, the space is used by other folks from time to time. There really isn't much choice; I can't do any work, of any preferred scale, in my small home and my painting materials would freeze and be ruined (I never keep the heat on over night, so it's routinely below freezing every morning when I get up...even in the teens!).

I started a new version of my "excavation series". The intersecting lines have been compressed and are more interwoven; creating a type of maze. This advances part of the message of  an "excavation" piece: pathways. The roads blend and overlap with different colors and in different directions. There's still structure, but the order is impractical...the paths take you nowhere and, like in any maze, it's easy to get lost.

I started this new approach without knowing why and, now that I understand the personal connection, the execution is frustrating. It gives expression to my convoluted path of the past 6 years: wondering, trying one door after another, going from one dead end to another. Some doors are nothing more than a painting of a door. For me, the art offers no answers but accentuates the frustration of my life these days.

The piece to the left is in process. It's from a photograph of a friend of mine when he was at one of the lowest points of his life. As you know, every piece that an artist makes is a bit of a self portrait.

The maze pathways in the shirt have already been filled with the second layer of plaster and are made up of cool colors. The background will be darker, with the top portion broken up into those attacking or emanating electrical charges. Looking at it now, they seem like distorted figures in some sort of Mayan delineation. I began working on the face itself today.

It's my hope that through this confusing journey the Lord will speak to me and lead me to a new experience of Himself. Until then...I'm learning to be content in the maze.

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; 
the Lord gives both grace and glory; 
no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
Psalm 84:11          

"My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber."
Psalm 121:2-3        

"The Lord will protect you from all evil; 
He will keep your soul.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forever."
Psalm 121:7-8        

I added this followup image (right) to show some development. More has been added since then, but it involved filling with the second layer, obscuring the portrait. This all becomes a part of the "building up, digging down; excavation" process which is indicative of my technique. The image will be resurrected after all has been filled, dried, and then sanded.

This step shows the final layer having been added and drying. This 32x48 inch panel will next be sanded down to reveal the original plaster line "drawing", but I will have to wait a few days until the snow melts and the ground dries a bit (besides, I'll be going to an evangelistic convention during the end of the week). That is due to the fact that such sanding must take place outside.

After vacuuming the surface, I'll seal it with a polycrylic and then decide what acrylic glazing needs to be done to enhance the image (eg, primarily shading to clarify form). Then another polyseal coating and a simple frame made out of firing strips. I'll be sure include a picture of the completed piece.