Media: oil & mastic on acrylic on layered plexiglass panels
Location: The Old Gas Station
Hover/tap for Price $4,800 framed
36 x 30 inches / 91 x 77 cm
Embedded in the paint are faint traces of the nautical chart of the surrounding water.
My fascination with layered imagery started with pentimento, the effect that happens as oil paint cures and becomes more and more translucent. There’s a famous Winslow Homer seascape with a ship on the horizon and next to it a pale copy of the same ship. He decided he didn’t like where it was, so he painted it over with sky and repainted it to one side of the first. Decades later, the first ship has emerged through the overpainting as the ghost ship.
Vermeer and Rembrandt and other old masters used many layers of glazing: a little pigment and a lot of oil. After 500 years of pentimento, the 50 layers of glaze on a face become luminous, a catch basin for light bouncing around in the different layers.
It’s a tricky technique, glazing with oil, because if you use just a bit too much oil it will yellow, a putrid sort of yellow. A lot of contemporary painters have tried to mine this technique and none have really come through without the paintings turning putrid. But if you switch to acrylic, you are free to use almost as much clear medium as you want. My experiments there only drove me further into transparency, and so I painted this on clear Plexiglas panels.
This painting depicts the interior of an old beach house in muted sienna colors, layered with two other images from the same house to create a sublty abstract composition. One layer has a view out a window to blue water. The open screen door in the foreground leads your view into the darker interior, and then the window of blue. This is painted in translucent paint on light-filled plexiglass layers in a shallow box to catch the ambient light.
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