“My heart’s deserted me” – 60″ x 30″, oil on linen
The new year starts off with a bit of a return to an older painting style and a kick off in a new direction at the same time.
My darling husband surprised me with a beautiful, solid and large new easel that was the perfect way to dive into paitning a special 60″ x 30″, gallery-wrapped linen canvas that I’ve been holding in my storage closet. And so I did.
Linen feels very different from cotton canvas. First off, it’s finer. Secondly, because it’s finer (perhaps) it is also more pliable – it moves under the brush. At first I was a bit leery of this as I had this thought that my forceful strokes would break the canvas – I do get a bit carried away at times. But after a few initial passes, I realized that I wasn’t in immediate danger of punching through the linen and so I eased into the process a bit more.
the opening oil salvo on my linen canvas
The beginning, while tentative, seemed to be heading in the direction of one of my older oil flow pieces. Oil lends itself so easily to the flow style as it blends without hesitation when wet and I am not the most careful brush cleaner between colors when I’m in the zone. But, I really am not interested in retracing old steps at this point, and so I knew I’d either wash the piece entirely or force it into a less flat and flowing direction.
I let the oils set just long enough to become tacky, so that I could paint over them without simply washing the under paint into the higher level colors.
Phase two and the image takes shape
The initial deep green splotch at the upper end of the canvas had been bothering me and in taking that out of the mix, the beginnings of the story started to reveal themselves. I tend to avoid anything that is too suggestive of representational work as I am so seldom satisfied with my efforts in a representational direction. But, this painting lent itself too well to a more representational abstraction, and as I am finding myself completely taken by the work of Grace Hartigan at the moment, and she was one of the pioneers in the movement among abstract expressionists to incorporate representational elements into her abstractions, it seems entirely fitting that this painting would head in that direction as well.
And oddly, even as I’m moving forward, I see traces of where I’ve been in this painting … I only need to look back at two smaller pieces I did a few years back, “I keep your heart in my pocket” and “Origami”.
“I keep your heart in my back pocket”
It’s fascinating to me how one evolves and builds on what has come before.