Embracing Technology

Hamburger Bahnhof 1
Val Nelson, Hamburger Bahnhof 1, 45 x 60 inches, oil on panel, 2012-2013

In my  September 2012 post on my “In the Studio” page, I bemoaned my boredom with photography as a source for my paintings. Well since then things have changed quite a bit. While photography has limitations, I am once again finding it very freeing, in different ways from working from life. The paintings that “just happen” very quickly are ones that I sometimes prize; but there are also the larger works that emerge slowly, and are an accumulation of “hits” and “misses” that are moves toward the final goal of an image that registers for me something that I hope to call Painting.

The layering of glazes can subtly alter the surface and create nuances of painterly depth that a “premier coup” painting might not. Each approach is just different, neither better nor worse than the other.

There’s also what technology can bring to the process–I’m fairly sure if Velaszquez or Vermeer were here today they would most likely be taking advantage of today’s photography post-production software in conjunction with their painting.

Along with working from reproductions of reality printed on paper or found on my computer screen, I also have been really benefiting from some life drawing and painting in the past while. It’s feeling good to do it all–– it just makes the work richer and I think more informed.

Today we needn’t be And/Or but can easily say yes to Both.

Slow Muse

Deborah Barlow, Colasee
36 x 36 inches
Mixed media on wood panel

Blogger friend and slow painter Deborah Barlow has announced her upcoming solo exhibition at Woodbury Museum of Art, in Orem, Utah. Her dense, multi-layered works suggest to me many possible worlds of surfaces, high-angle views of unnamed places, and the secret life of atoms.

About her work, Deborah writes:

I am most interested by what is not obvious to the eye or the mind. Evidence suggests that every entity has a physical footprint, its own atmospheric field. That holds for physical objects as well as ideas. Looking for the hidden side of things is what compels me most.

Working in this way, painting becomes a record of how to search, listen and respond multi-dimensionally. The complexity of the final piece is a complexity of perceiving, synthesizing, and navigating a limitless world.

Opening reception: Tuesday, March 12, 5-8pm