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Notes on process – Primordial series

February 23rd, 2013|Painting|2 Comments

Adams-Primordial13-Primordial No. 13, 8 x 8 inches, acrylic & mixed media on panel – ©2013 Deidre Adams

 

While going through my photos in preparation for this posting, I was surprised to see that according to the dates on the image files, I finished the first 12 paintings in the Primordial series back in January of 2012. Time really is flying by; I thought it was much later in the year! While working on the first 12, I had ordered another 2 dozen 8×8 panels plus a dozen 12×12, and those sat in the basement for most of the year until I came back from Peru and had an urgent need to get back to painting. I prepped them all at the same time – tape the sides, then give each one two coats of Golden GAC100 and three thin coats of gesso. This goes pretty fast with a paint roller, so it’s not as bad as it sounds.

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When faced with a repetitive task that doesn’t require much creativity, I like to listen to something other than music to take my mind off how boring it is. TED talks are good for this, but I also found a local podcast called Untitled Art Show that was so interesting, I decided to go back and listen to a lot of the really early ones. While the main focus of the shows is the Denver art scene and local artists, the hosts – Erik Isaac and Michael Keen –  also do an admirable job of discussing the issues and opportunities encountered by artists everywhere. For example, how does an artist who works in more than one discipline handle the pros and cons of doing so? That’s an issue that particularly resonates with me.

I hadn’t planned on doing so originally, but after prepping all those panels, I decided to keep them all out and start working on them at the same time. This ended up having several advantages, one of which is that if you’re in the mode of working small, you don’t have to continually adjust your mindset.

Adams-primordials-IPPrimordial series in progress. ©2013Deidre Adams

 

Another interesting phenomenon of working this way is that the works are all informed by one another; it’s as though they’re having a conversation among themselves. A design element for one very often inspires a solution for a problem with a different one.

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The only clear disadvantage is space. As I worked on each one, I would move it off the table and onto my secondary working space, the plastic on the floor, to get it out of the way while it dried. I sure love having my studio in my house because I can get up at 5 in the morning and start working right away if so inclined, or keep working well into the evening and not have to go out into the cold and drive back and forth to a studio. But I would also love to have about twice as much room as I currently do. Some day I’ll be rich and famous and will make this happen.

February 23rd, 2013|Painting|2 Comments

New work – Somniloquence

February 22nd, 2013|Painting|2 Comments

Somniloquence – ©Deidre Adams
Somniloquence, 48 x 72 inches, acrylic & mixed media on panel – ©2013 Deidre Adams

This is the second painting I was working on concurrently with Suspension of Disbelief. With this one, I remembered to take some in-progress photos as I went. Wish I’d thought to shoot them all from the same direction, but most of the time I don’t decide which way is up until I’m done, and sometimes I’ll even change my mind long after it’s been photographed.

(Update 2/23/13: Found an earlier in-progress shot, below:)

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Stage 1 is getting the whole thing covered with color and texture. No plan at this point. Use whatever paint I got on sale, the uglier the better, because it’s all just to get some movement going on here. Good thing I’m neat, because that’s my bedroom carpet under the plastic.

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Next stage is to start my “writing” and other markings. This is the most fun part; I lose myself in the process and avoid judging anything too much now. Then I add washes of color. Then more markings, more color washes, with each stage separated by a layer of acrylic medium to build up depth and richness. Each layering of markings, color wash, and medium needs several hours or a day or two to dry in between. I think of this process as similar to to what happens in nature as layers of sand or organic material are deposited on the surface of the earth over time. Some time I think I’ll do a test on a small one and sand back down into it to see what I get. It would be fun to remember all the old colors that are down in there.
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Now I have to start making some choices about color. I can’t really explain to you how I choose colors, other than to say that at earlier stages I’m picking colors I don’t really like all that much because I don’t want to be tempted to stop too early. It could be argued that the painting at this stage was more exciting than the finished result, but I had it in mind that I was going for something quieter. All of these bright colors were meant to give the finished painting a richness, and not to be a major feature of it.

Here are some details:

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Adams-Somniloquence-det

I think of it as a sort of landscape of the mind – at least my own mind, which has a tendency to go wild in unproductive ways until I force myself to stop and focus. (This seems to be getting more difficult the older I get. I blame the Internet.) The quieting down of the crazy color could be analogous to meditation. As you can see, I’m not so good at that yet.

 

February 22nd, 2013|Painting|2 Comments

Suspension of Disbelief

February 19th, 2013|Painting|Comments Off on Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of Disbelief – ©Deidre AdamsSuspension of Disbelief, 48 x 72 inches, acrylic & mixed media on panel – ©2013 Deidre Adams

My last two posts were about a series of small paintings I’m finishing up. But I like to keep things interesting for myself, so at the same time I’ve been working on what are for me a couple of very large paintings. Since my studio is in my master bedroom, this is the largest painting on wood I can conceivably do in that space. I normally work with panels horizontally, on the table, because my method is mostly too wet and sloppy to do upright, at least until close to the end. A panel this size is too heavy for me to lift by myself, so instead of working on my table, I spread out plastic on the floor and work on them there. This is working out pretty well because I can easily get around to all four sides of a work. Once the latest layers are settled enough, I can stand the first painting up in the bathroom to dry and then set the next one down on the floor to work on. Who needs a gym when you can manhandle these things around all day?

Suspension of Disbelief (detail) – ©Deidre Adams
Suspension of Disbelief (detail) – ©2012 Deidre Adams

 

February 19th, 2013|Painting|Comments Off on Suspension of Disbelief