Five months of hand-painted circles on an eight foot canvas are compressed into these two minutes. I made this video as a diy instant replay for myself, hoping to learn something that will make me a better painter. The resulting clip is fascinating for several dramatic changes to the painting and the many layers of paint it reveals.
Music is a Library of Congress field recording:
Title: Devil’s dream
Contributor Names: Mann, Thomas (performing on hammered dulcimer) Cowell, Sidney Robertson (collector)
Archive of Folk Culture (Library of Congress)
Created / Published: 1937.
These are unusual prints. When you see them in person, it’s obvious immediately. They are shiny. Like silver-leaf shiny. They shimmer. When you reach out to touch one, they suddenly reflect the color of your own hand. When the sunlight streaming through the skylights here at the studio is interrupted by a passing cloud, the change is startling. Words fail, so here’s a video:
How’s that possible? Well, because these prints are made over aluminum leaf. The entire image area of each piece is covered with aluminum leaf by hand before they are printed with an archival, black-ink only digital image. Aluminum leaf is great because it doesn’t tarnish rapidly like genuine silver leaf would. And we use a black-ink-only printing process because we’re a little bit Amish like that.
The images in the prints were generated while working on one drawing over a period of about a year. Each “state” is a kind of snapshot of this one drawing at a point in time. As time progresses, the drawing gets darker. So the progression through the five prints is a progression into a twilight of sorts. To nudge that idea a little further, two of the prints contain additional touches of gold leaf. State 3 has flecks of gold that roughly correspond to the position of stars in the night sky surrounding the constellation Ophiuchus, or the serpent bearer. The last print in the suite, State 5, is accented with a thin crescent of gold– a waning crescent moon.
The aluminum-leafed image area of each print measures 6″ by 8″ and the outside dimensions of the paper are 8″ by 10″. It’s the perfect size for looking at up close. Each state is part of a very limited edition of fifteen prints. The nature of the hand-applied aluminum leaf means that there are small differences between each of the 15 prints of any given edition. I think you’ll find that these imperfections are lovely and add value.
I’ve been trying really hard to figure out a way to get two of the paintings here in the studio all the way to Louisville, GA for the rapidly approaching show at the Fire House Gallery. It’s a no-brainer that the fire paintings should be in this show in a converted firehouse. But the two paintings in question are pretty big, and it’s a long way from Brooklyn to Georgia. The gallery is a not-for-profit, and well, I’m an artist. Funds are scarce.
Here’s how it works. I’ve got 11 days to raise the $2,268 it will take to rent a larger truck and drive to Georgia. With Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing. Raise the full amount and the project gets funded, fall short by just a dollar, and nothing. Zip. Nada.
So I need your help! The Kickstarter website makes it really easy to spread the word electronically, so if you can do nothing else, just visit the project page, check out the video and then send an email or post to Facebook or Twitter. It really makes a difference!
Better still, Kickstarter makes it easy for me to offer a really cool list of incentives for you. Even a one dollar pledge gets you a personalized invite. If you are one of the folks who have expressed interest in a reproduction of one of the paintings, your opportunity is here: $50 gets a nice color print, and you can choose the painting. There’s more, take a look at the project.
(A special huge thank you to Steve McFarland, who made the video happen. Thank you, Steve!)
Here are the two big paintings that will go to Georgia if the project is successful:
“The Garden Gate,” 1999, oil on canvas, diptych, 96″x120″