Ontario, Canada, Between Chapters, acrylic, 24 x 36"
My work increasingly focuses on the human condition. I want to develop images that convey a feeling of place and ambience and touch each viewer in a different and personal way. Although a glimpse of a room, a single object or an emotion may be the spark for me, the final vision for a painting evolves slowly during work on other paintings and may be far removed from the initial trigger. Inspiration comes from many levels: psychological, spiritual and technical. This piece arises from many summers of quiet solitude mixed with strange mystery spent at the family cottage. The painted interior looks very different from our cottage but captures the peaceful essence of the place and how those long, hot days are fading to dreams.
My Design Strategy
For this piece, as with most of my work, I began by developing several rough compositions of the vision I wanted to capture. I re-worked, scrapped and unified different approaches until one design emerged as the best expression of the idea. The design stage took at least as long as executing the actual painting. The draft versions varied in detail such as the placement and orientation of the figure, subtle changes in the viewing angle, and experiments with different wallpaper pattern, furnishings, carpet placement and lighting. Experimental drafts are important to bring out design problems and expose areas that will benefit from special treatment in order to translate my vision into a physical painting.
My Working Process
Once satisfied with the design, work on this painting began with a very loose underpainting blocking out the general tones and composition. This was followed by as many layers as necessary to achieve the desired result. Each over painting built up detail, defined objects more clearly, and refined the colours and tones. Consistency of the paint varied from heavy and opaque to very thin glazes depending on the nature of the region being developed. I applied a coat of clear gloss medium between each layer to increase colour brilliance. The final layers were painted with a slow-drying acrylic in order to facilitate blending directly on the surface and allow ample time for the final touches.