Woad

Completed 2015. acrylic dispersion and gold leaf on polymer canvas, 48 x 60 inches.
Private collection

Woad is the name of an ancient blue dye, and the name of the plant from which that dye is derived. Woad seeds have been found at archeological sites dating from the Neolithic, and the dye been found on the the fabric wrappings around Egyptian mummies. It is also a poetic, resonant way to say blue which attached itself to this painting as I completed my work on it in early 2015.

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Layers of gilding, hand-mixed blue, and texture near the center of the painting Woad by Randall Stoltzfus

The dyestuff, I am sad to say, is too fugitive for my goal of making artwork that can be enjoyed over many years. Instead the painting contains an array of blue mineral pigments which are both lightfast and beautiful. Both cobalt blue deep and cobalt violet deep were included through paints that were mixed by hand in the studio. The painting also contains a generous dose of genuine gold leaf, for a sparkling contrast.

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Woad in situ at Blank Space Gallery in the 2015 summer exhibit