Fourth in the mixed technique series of the larger mixed media project. (You can read more about the mixed technique but clicking the category link on the right.) It’s consistently amazing to me how quickly these images come together – but only because I have spent months preparing the earlier layers. So this is a sustained argument for the power, saturation and luminosity attainable through an indirect technique.
A piece of me #62, mixed technique over pastiglia on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
A piece of me #62, egg tempera underpainting.
This particular panel was fun because it was lightly sculpted using pastiglia and because compositionally it contained the top edge of one of my shoes. That created not only a different texture but a stronger warmer hue as well as a set of stronger values. Here on the right is an image of the egg tempera underpainting and the left the final achieved through one layer of oil.
Third in the mixed technique series (see the category link on the right for a fuller description of the mixed technique). Here, compositionally, I am still navigating within the abstract flooring pieces of the larger composition. The plan for this panel called for a collage. Thus, in the very early stages I glued a number of pieces of fabric to the bare panel, roughly imitating the compositional planes to come. Doing so resulted in a very coarsely textured substrate and covering this with 9 layers of gesso never completely eliminated this coarseness. Yet elimination was not the idea. My idea has always been to live with what the process created and try to make something beautiful with it.
A piece of Me #32, egg tempera underpainting
A piece of me #32, mixed technique over collage, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
So the image here on the right displays the egg tempera underpainting (over the collage) stage. It’s light in value while the hue differences between the tiled planes have been accentuated. The image on the left shows the panel after one working session in oil. Due to my gray unifying glaze, the heavy texture of the collage caused the broad fields to look very dirty. Couldn’t live with that! So, I decided to do one more working session in order to reclaim the beauty of these subtly modulated fields. The spotlighted image above illustrates the difference. BTW: if you’re reading this via email, the wordpress interface doesn’t include the enlarged “spotlighted” image at the top, so (if you are interested to do so) you’ll need to use the link to compare these three stages.
A Piece of Me #57, the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
A Piece of Me #57, egg tempera underpainting on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
Here is the second of the mixed technique series (see the category description on the right for a full explanation of the technique). Like #47 before it, this one is another abstract design principally of the tile flooring in front of the great mosque at Casablanca. You can read about the concept behind the whole project here.
To the right you can view the egg tempera underpainting before its layer of oil. To the left the completed panel afterwards. Once again, the increase in saturation and depth seems to happen almost automatically – due to the difference in medium. Additionally, what’s interesting to me, is that I had completed the underpainting a few months back, imagining it to be a final piece (and not just the groundwork for further manipulations in paint). That is, I thought I was creating a finished panel for the egg tempera series – and at the time I was pretty happy with the result. I think the composition lends itself to that satisfaction, but still after I discovered the error, I was curious about how much the oil level could or would enhance the piece. I think it does. What do you think?
After a long hiatus I was finally able to get back to the studio yesterday. Hooray!! This piece marks the beginning of the upcoming “mixed technique” series. For a full description of the mixed technique see the category description to the right.
A Pice of Me #47, the egg tempera underpainting
A Pice of Me #47, the mixed technique on panel, 21 x 13.3 or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
So on the right you can see the preparatory work consisting of an egg tempera underpainting developed over an india ink underdrawing (no image of the B/W phase). On the left you can see the final panel after a session of maybe an hour or two, working oils into its underpainting. Saturation and contrast/depth is quickly achieved – but only because the groundwork has already been developed. I remember the words of James Brown: “Now brother don’t leave your homework undone”. Viewing the results of the oil though, It’s easy to understand why their discovery in the fifteenth century was such a revolution.
I’m thinking that this speed of image development will most likely be true for all the “abstract” panels of this project (see link for a full description). The figurative panels will, most likely, require more time, thus more working sessions. But we’ll see. Onward and upwards!
A piece of me #26, egg tempera on panel, 21 x 13.3 or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
Finally, the last in the egg tempera series. A fore-ground composition full of meaningful, three dimensional human form containing a full range of values: strong contrasts of light and dark. Rendering the flesh tones of the hand and the warm glinting light of the gold bracelet were wonderful challenges. A Renaissance painter would have applied real gold leaf(!) – to the bracelet, that is..
I’m ready to accept this one as it is for now, though after it cures for awhile I might try to intensify the saturation of the main shapes with more coats of glaze. But it’s also important to keep in mind that egg tempera, in contrast to the other media of this project (that is, oil, encaustic and acrylic) requires a final coat of protective varnish. This will darken all values by about 10%, so I don’t mind leaving these panels a little lighter than either what their source image was or what their future companions will be. Final adjustments can always be made.
A piece of me #31, egg tempera over linen on panel, 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
A panel of abstract geometric shapes – diagonal trapezoids except for one lonely cigarette butt lower left. Deceptively easy. Create a few washes and that’s it. But no, there were cool tiles, there were warm tiles, there were neutral tiles. How to create an interesting unity of these subtle contrasts of hue? Then also, how to emphasize the extremely reduced value range – inherent to the original subject – so that this panel, too, is interesting by itself? This is the result. I’ll take it.
Write up of the overall project here.
A piece of me #16, egg tempera over collage. 21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
This is one of the more interesting spontaneous compositions of the overall project. When I first saw it, I wasn’t sure what the long haired girl was doing. Then it hit me, of course, she’s taking a selfie! How 21st century.
The dice-roll treatment for this panel stipulated collage and egg tempera. These are two elements that are almost antithetical to one another. Collage is coarse and heavily textured. Egg tempera is quite refined, subtle and also accentuates any irregularities in the substrate. Thus I anticipated that this one would be challenging. But in fact, as I began laying in colors and calibrating value relationships, the coarseness of the collage didn’t create too many problems, au contraire, it actually enhanced the design (for the most part), which of course is what I had wanted (but couldn’t expect).
Another aspect of the composition is the way it reads as landscape. There are clear foreground, middle ground and background elements. That meant that I needed to modulate my values in such a way to enhance the “landscape” experience. So, given all the givens – of a very contemporary subject mattered panel – I’m pleased with the way it turned out.