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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Another experimental landscape ~ still in progress

approx 20 x 24" oil on canvas

This has been in my mind for such a long time, I can't really remember how long! And, once I made the canvas ... I had no idea what to put on it! A very severe case of "writers block" or maybe painter's block!

Here's how it started. I wanted to create a very textured canvas (I've mentioned before that for larger canvases, I always stretch, prime, and gesso my own). It occurred to me that it might be interesting to stitch together a canvas, leaving fringed edges and stretch, prime and gesso that.
So I did. (I should mention that I also sawed, mitred, & constructed my stretcher frame from firring strips). I created the canvas and stretched it using rabbit skin glue. (This is the process used by artists from the middle ages - and in my opinion, it gives the best results for a tight stretch). The outcome was exactly what I had envisioned. Then, I gessoed with a clear gesso so that the texture and colors of the raw cotton canvas still showed.

Voila! A canvas was made and ready..... but then - not every subject matter could really work on such a wildly textured surface! So, I thought about it - and have continued thinking about it for months.... years, actually. Every once in awhile, I'd pull it out of the storage area and wonder - what needs to be painted here? My question was answered by - silence.

Finally, in these last few weeks, I've decided that a landscape - very abstracted would work the best in this space. Something rugged, sparse.... maybe a little desertous. Yet, something that evokes a sense of being there rather than depicts an actual place.

So, this is what I've started out with. It is not finished ... and I'm not entirely sure where it will end up. This is a case of the painting speaking to the painter - and me trying to interpret and follow it's lead. I hope to have something final to show you soon - but who knows?? this one has a long track record of silence and rather cryptic communication!!

The small landscape painting I have been working on is still in process, and I hope to have it finished before long. And - I am also working on a bowl commission, which has a deadline! Couple all that with the end of our school semester and one of my son's graduations (out of town) from college - and there you have a snapshot of life!!


LeslieB said...

Helen! This is a beautiful painting - are you sure it's not finished already? I love it!

Debra J.Sepos said...

Hi Helen,
Love your landscapes! Simple and beautiful. The small ones look like they could be 30" instead of 5".

Mary K Broshear said...

YES! Leslie echoed what I was thinking when I looked at it. It looks quite complete to me. There is a simplicity about it, yet it speaks volumes, and is very moving. It draws you into it and stirs the emotions.. I love it!
I think this is one of your best works, very original, coming from within.

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