Friends have recently opened an elegant new lifestyle store in downtown St. Petersburg and I painted this very large diptych for their front show window to get attention from passers by.
The painting, “Temptation” is 62 x 70 inches and it’s simplicity gives a big “POW” to the window. The owners also feature more of my paintings inside the store, so if you’re local or visiting, please go to Blinds by Design at 444 Central Avenue and see this sophisticated and beautiful store featuring cutting edge home automation, blinds, shutters, furniture, art and so much more.
The process of dripping, splattering, or any other method of adding volume and shapes to paintings is a rich, organic look that appeals. By building your shapes or marks, then painting or rubbing, or putting on paint over those textural accents instantly creates a beautiful effect that draws the eye. Below is just completed “Serengeti”
(36 x 48). It took five layers of building with modeling paste and gel mediums, each drying between applications. Five more layers of paint followed, manipulated by dripping, braying and using a brush. It’s difficult to see the depth of the texture, but if you’re local, come by and see it in person.
This painting is 24 x 24, a small format for me, but the smaller size creates a more intimate, emotional exchange with the viewer. I began, as is often the case, without a plan. Layering colors over a burnt orange ground, I envisioned a fragile, beautiful figure emerging from the darkness into a soft beam of light on the water.
The viewer is free to imagine and interpret. Is the bird offering solace to a sole person trapped by flood? Is the man offering safe landing for the bird? Or perhaps they are drawn to each other by the “aloneness” of each, connected by the life force that flows through all nature’s beings.
Painted to represent the spirit of women, young and old, struggling against dismissive social mores and sometimes overt abuse in much of our world. A tribute to the brave women who have risked so much, even their lives, to have equal rights and equal power to control their own destinies.
the original of “To Men Who Dance on Pianos”
I don’t make many giclee prints of my work, but will do so for friends and family who want to own my work and don’t want to spend the cost of an original.
The process has become affordable for the artist with the evolution of the giclee, one print at a time capability, and the high resolution cameras and scanners we now have.
For very large prints, I have my original scanned and then “stitched” together by my local printer on Photoshop (www.grandcentralstainedglass.com/). For smaller and less expensive prints on canvas, I print from my own 10 mp phone camera shots (on a tripod and delayed photo setting) and get good results.
Once the print is back in my studio, already stretched, I can paint over areas with acrylic paint to bring back the intensity of the original, and collage pieces onto it with gel medium as was done with the original.
“To Men Who Dance on Pianos” is a good example of the process. I enlarged the print to be twice the size of the original then glazed in some areas with liquid Golden acrylics to regain the intensity of the colors. Some areas are collaged much like the original and thicker paint is used to duplicate rich, textured brush strokes.
The second photo shows the texture and cardboard collage on the giclee print that duplicates the original. The last photo shows a cardboard collage addition running up one leg. Once all enhancing is complete, I coat the painting with an acrylic varnish or a gel medium to get the finish of the original and eliminate the patchy sheen in areas where I have altered the print.
It’s fun to go over your own work and bring it back to life. You could even alter paintings more extensively and create an entirely different work.
Would that then be an original rather than a giclee print? I’m not sure. There is much discussion about how to classify this type of work. One thing for sure, though. The work would no longer be that much less expensive than the original.
Out of the Sea
Possibilities for creating an original painting on yupo are endless and very exciting. The slick, plastic finish of the product (the same material as that bar code identifier used on your luggage at airports) offers a chance to manipulate paint to make fascinating patterns as a background for your images or as the foundation for a good abstract.
Watercolor or acrylic paint stays on top of the surface, leaving a brighter, more intense color than paint on paper. When using watercolor, shapes can be lifted out or added by just wiping an area with a damp cloth or brush. “Out of of the Sea” is a large painting suggesting the emergence of life from the sea.
The initial manipulation of the yupo by folding it in on the paint-splotched surface and pulling it apart (being careful not to crease the material) left images that resembled sea shells on a sea bed and triggered the idea. The figures were created by lifting paint off to make the shapes of the five figures and some color was added back to create contrast.
“Ascension” was done in the same manner, removing and adding paint from the background to create the figure of the man after drawing the exaggerated figure in ink.
Other paintings used ink, gold foil, collage, cardboard, etc. to achieve various concepts.
A favorite is the large painting of three European market vendors taking a break from their stalls . “Gossip Break” was a series of steps removing, adding and changing colors and shapes. The expressionistic plants, birds and figures capture the ambiance of the busy market. And nothing was drawn. Everything evolved from lifting or adding paint. Mistakes don’t matter… you just go right back in and change or correct.
I’ve uploaded several finished paintings here to show you the broad range of possibilities with water based media on yupo. Try it. You’ll be amazed at how brilliantly creative yupo makes you feel.
More paintings on yupo.
I was painting on top of the hill in the palace gardens on 9/11/2001, when the twin towers were hit. We didn’t hear about it until we returned to the hotel. The management had special electricians come to the hotel and hook our rooms up to CNN in English so we could stay informed.
It was a horrifying, surreal time for all of us, so far from home and not able to fly back. All flights were grounded.
What I remember most is the kindness of the people of Prague when it happened. We walked in the rain the next day to the American Embassy and saw hundreds of memorial bouquets, teddy bears, heartfelt messages, photos, ribbons, every sort of expression of sympathy.
There was a special service for Americans in the huge cathedral in the old city the next evening. It was packed with thousands of mourners.
Some of the watercolor paintings on the sofa here were works done during that time. The strange little Bohemian hotel room was our safe house the next day as we all stayed close to our television sets.
The smile on my face in the photo was because that’s what you instinctively do when a camera is pointed at you.
Although memories of beautiful Prague are wrapped around this horrific event in our history, all the memories of that time, good and bad, burn bright.
This was an easy, fun and inexpensive way to contribute time to a worthy charity without them asking for free donations of good paintings that they would auction off at 1/5 the market price and then never send a thank you note.
But I do want to give back to the community in ways that I can afford.This charity provided a mask that was signed by a celebrity and asked me to paint it without covering the celeb’s signature. Acrylic mixed with a lot of clear liquid gel was a good solution. The mask is actually a deeper shade of crimson in reality. They then sold them to guests at the fundraiser.
Each mask was labeled with background information.
This mask is signed by Ambassador Douglas L. McElhaney. It is decorated by Patton Hunter. Ambassador Douglas L. McElhaney is an American diplomat. He served as the Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina 2004–2007. McElhaney, a career officer of the United States Foreign Service, was sworn in as Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina on August 6, 2004. He worked on the Namibia negotiations that helped bring the southwest African nation to independence. He also worked on the Mideast peace negotiations in 1987-89. A 31-year veteran of the State Department, Ambassador McElhaney is a member of the American Foreign Service Association and has received numerous meritorious and superior honor awards during his career.
Patton Hunter’s work has been featured in several national magazines. The Artist’s Magazine named her one of the top ten artists (over 60 years of age) in the country in its 2011 March issue. Watercolor Artist Magazine cited her in their 2011 December issue as one of ten American artists to watch. Patton states, “My work is a response to my own life experiences. I don’t say too much about it because I don’t want to block the viewer’s own interpretation of the work. I think of painting as a language, one that enables me to communicate on a personal level. The “meaning” of the work grows with each person who responds to it.”
Sometimes you finish a painting and technically it is as good as any you’ve done, but it doesn’t have that “feeling” you wanted. I photographed my three-year old niece on her first horseback ride. She was so proud to be sitting on that big horse. The painting, however, was so detailed that it lost the warm, fuzzy feeling of the moment.
Painting over major portions of the watercolor brought back the sweetness of the memory.
I’ve saved many paintings with this technique and use it with acrylics as well. If you go past where you wanted to soften the painting, you can always paint back into it to recapture specific details.
Below: “Katie on Sassy”
The large indoor market in Porto, Portugal is a strong mix of the smell of fish, fruit and flowers and the sounds of laboring and laughter. The three women featured in Gossip Break were perfect subject matter to capture the experience that day.
I started with bright colors for the underpainting, which I knew would disappear as I worked, and blocked in the shapes of the composition. In subsequent stages, I developed the darker colors to indicate the indoor setting and gave the skin a pale olive tone. Unfortunately, this diminished value changes that make a work interesting, so I created light coming in from behind the hanging meat.
The box labels and price list above the women were blown up from the original photograph on the printer, transferred onto skins of gel medium and then collaged into place.
Can’t you almost hear the women talking. Perhaps about a daughter who ran off with a man they don’t like, or that woman in the flower stalls who thinks she’s so superior. The image is universal, one with which we all can identify.