December 03, 2007

Re-Do...

2007 - Fall Ritual - 40x40

Not everything that leaves the studio with love and kisses actually sells. Big whoop! So when they've done their time at one gallery, they are moved on to another. Not infrequently, they'll make it all the way around the block before running out of wall space. Then I either retire it to my own collection or, more often, it will either get a touch up or completely repainted. Usually when I start working on it again I can't stop and the original work disappears forever.

Not the case with the above painting. The bones and much of the original paint remain. Whether or not it's an improved version is up for grabs... at least it's different and gets another chance at making the rounds. I think there's a unity the first one didn't have but looking at both versions now, I see a few nuances were lost in the transition. So be it... other nuances were gained.

I've moved away from my usual modus operandi in the last year or so... to the point that I was having trouble reconnecting with a style that had served me well. Working with this painting again, in it's original context, has helped me understand where I was going wrong in both composition and technique.

I've mentioned that I like to thicken my gesso with dry spackle powder to create just the right texture. Without this particular ground, my techniques just don't work. Well, donchaknow I've run out and they've taken it off the market! Can't even find it on the web! I'm no chemist so figuring out the magic in the compound has been a trial an error affair. I just know that dry spackle worked and other powders didn't. I did start comparing the makeup of spackle and I think plaster of paris might work... I'll let you know. It's got to be tough, anything as soft as joint compound is disastrous... big time chipping at vulnerable, unframed edges. With big canvases, bumps do happen. Even many layers of paint won't protect.

Anyway, working again on this painting reminded me that I have to get back to that surface or forget the whole process. Funny... I hadn't realized it mattered that much... naturally I'm in the mood for some really thick, squishy texture!

8 comments:

Into the Blystic said...

Hi there I've been admiring your work for awhile now! I expect you have probably thought of this but I use molding paste mixed with gesso [or other mediums depending on what i'm going for] for thicker textured areas... it seems to work for me on canvas as well as rigid supports since it is acrylic based and stays somewhat flexible. Just a thought. I found spackle/etc too crumbly and subject to flaking off. best of luck in your ventures!namaste Elis

KJ said...

It's all in the proportion... not enough powder to cause crumbling, just enough to give the desired body and stay flexible. Lots of trial and error went into it which is why I hate to start over. Pastes and gels aren't the answer on large canvases... I'm too cheap to use them extravagantly, which is the whole point. But I appreciate the suggestion... ya never know...

CMC said...

I like the Nova Color Paint's light weight molding paste.I buy a gallon at a time. The trick (and you know this, of course.) is to put it on with a knife, then use the brush like you would for painting and then the knife again. It takes some time to get a good surface. I HATE for it to look too mechanical. Now that I think of it you don't paint with the same kind of texture I do, so it might or might not work for you.

Martha Marshall said...

Marble dust maybe?

KJ said...

I feel like the toddler throwing a tantrum... but I want it MY WAY!!! Don't think I don't appreciate the suggestions, I know they work in their own way for scores of artists. And they would work for me if I wasn't so pigheaded. We'll see...

Nikole said...

Karen -- I once did TWO small paintings with some gouache that I adored. It was a 5 colour set and the perfect balance, for me, of red, yellow, blue, very subtle. Trying to get more was impossible but one agent advised me to call distributors, warehouses, etc. Depending on how much you want to spend you might find a big stock that would last to the end of your life -- post everywhere what you are looking for. Call small towns with art & craft stores. I guess time could be better spent learning a new method but I do feel your pain.

Walker said...

Hey Karen - Have you tried marble dust?
Love the reincarnation of the older painting. To my eye it looks much more cohesive and "finished".

Rebecca Crowell said...

There are several products I feel very dependent on--what would happen if they disappear? I tell myself it is not good to count on them staying in production, no matter how strenuously I support them! But I know I'd be singing the same sad song as you are if that would happen. Hope you figure it out--