Thursday, November 19, 2009

Painting the Man in the Moon, November 2009






Thanksgiving is upon us and it is one of my favorite holidays. No gifts required, is nice these days. We had a sparse harvest but I am thankful none the less. Thank goodness it will no longer matter if it rains here or not, at least until next year when we begin the saga again. I have been painting and experimenting with different paints most of the last part of this year. I am now convinced that there are just phases in an artist's life, where the searching becomes the art itself and the need to search overtakes the need to reproduce. I find myself for lack of a better word, content with the search for something new; a reinvention of my art and self. I find using different mediums helps to diversify my art and to keep me active and alert to the textures and feel of the different mediums and surfaces. Abstraction with symbolism is creeping into the fibers of my art more frequently than not lately.
Oil paint is something I reached for in the past when I wanted to be technically accurate or more detail oriented in my paintings, but now with the addition of the cold wax and the beeswax, oil paint has a whole new meaning in my work. It is now a velvety, matte, opaque road to traverse to get to the heart of what I am expressing in my work. The doors have reopened for me in my non objective work again and it is exciting to re enter that world for a while. There is an edgy contentment or satisfaction in the non objective work, it requires no explanation by the artist. I find with even a hint of realism involved there are questions to be asked by the viewer. I like to retreat to the non objective and just enjoy the shapes and patterns of colors for their existence alone and not for their meaning or symbolism of reference to anything of this earth. The one constant in my work as of late is the lean to the monochromatic palette and sometimes almost colorless paintings. I have worked my way into the earth tones and through them, all the while I am finding the need to layer and excavate my work. I think this is where the shades of grays and neutrals are finding their way into my work. I am finding great joy in mixing and layering colors and hues that cannot be labeled as a known color, but more as a reference to a color or colors. I have worked to make my self use colors that I almost never use, such as tubed greens. I was once told my an instructor years ago, to never use tube greens but to mix my own from yellow and blues..(so I think this is why I am trying to break this rule and prove that once again you must make your own rules or become static). I have begun to enjoy the mixing of colors and layering them with other colors till I reach neutrals that brush at the original colors without ever truly giving way to a named color. Each time I am reminded of water on an oil spill, and how it gives off a wonderful iridescent mish mosh of colors that change and swirl into unending numbers of colors, that is what I am chasing with my palette as of late. I want to make the eye interested in the colors but make the mind have to search for a name for them.
The search for textures that will add to my paintings is the quest I was on in the painting I have included in this blog.
I am mixing the non objective with hints of symbolism in an effort to work through my thoughts. In the beginning for my first layer of texture, I mixed some golden soft gel with gesso and textured my kilamanjaro paper. I am not thinking of anything except color at this point in my process, because I know this will be the bottom layer of color and that it will be a platform for building. I felt the need to have some boundaries on my paper so I tore pieces of old watercolors and placed them on the edges of the paper with the soft gel and applied gesso on top of them as a border around the paper leaving an opening at the top and bottom just for variety sake and to visually give a way to exit and enter the piece.
Full Sheet of texture painting for the underpainting.Detail of a part of the textural underpainting.
Detail of the textural underpainting

I layered several layers of watercolor and gouache on this and got some beautiful textures and patterns, but that became the problem; they were too beautiful and looked rather sweet, so I added several layers of the dreaded and previously deemed contraband tube greens on top of these beautiful under paintings and immediately I got more neutralized color, which to some might seem dull or the ruination of a great start, but it sparked the flame in my mind. This is when it gets interesting for me, and the focus becomes from this stage" make this work!" It is at this point I need to focus on the subject matter for the piece or whether it will have one at all. I looked at the calendar and saw the moon phases, something I pay little attention to in my life and I wondered why these moon phases are printed on calendars. They must be important, so I tried to come up with a reason for their being there and I thought about oceans, fish, and tidal waves and how important and constant they are to this earth. I think my favorite subject to paint is the figure so as a way to bring a figure into the work I added the ubiquitous man in the moon as a catalyst for the piece. I feel he is the spark of mystery for the piece. He is the metaphor for man and his ties to the moon and the different phases of the moon and the relation of man and the earth. I kept layering and adding textures and then I began to see the textures of the moon. I had the "aha" moment of losing the piece and then finding it again, only to find a deeper more meaningful feel for the painting. The rest is just finessing the shapes and edges and fine tuning the piece. This is the journey for my work, the lost and then found, the travel down an abandoned road of art, the step out into the darkness to find the comforting light of the finished piece. And when it is finished being comfortable enough to know it is only paint and paper or canvas and that the truth of the art is the process. Thank you for reading my blog I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving and that even if your life and circumstances seem bleak you can stop and give thanks for life and friends. I am going to add on this short video of the textures up close in the painting as I wanted to start using some videos of my work on my blog. I think videos can sometimes show more than just ajpeg of the piece.
video

Take care and have a great month!

Cathy Hegman
www.cathyhegman.com
email: hegmanart@aol.com


All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Finding beauty in Barbed Wire and Sunshine...

The Mississippi Delta monsoons have stopped for a bit lately, but I keep an eye to the sky in fear of rain clouds. Everyone is in clean up mode trying to gather what remains of the crops out in the fields. The mood is pensive for sure and will remain so until the crops are in and the losses are assessed.
In the studio life goes on rain or shine, being a studio painter has its advantages. I want to get back to my watercolors but for some reason I am still working in oils, acrylics and encaustics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encaustic_painting). I will eventually get back to the watercolors as I have two drawings ready to expand upon in watercolor. I even have planned the palette I will use, just cannot leave the work I am on right now. I often feel there are not enough hours or days in my life.

My muse has been the idea of boundaries and fences, in particular barbed wire fences. Why do we create boundaries with fences? I believe it is our human attempt to control our world. I think that in the process we forget that by fencing some out we fence ourselves in, it is a conundrum for sure. I also began to toy with the idea of mental barbed wire, the kind we create in our minds when we are so wrapped up on what we think is right that we alienate and hurt others, with barbs of words or actions. I find it interesting to look at the old rusted barbed wire that is around the pastures in the country. It is time worn and loaded with pieces of
animal,human, and inhuman remains that were somehow trapped and snared by it's barbs. It leaves me to wonder were they trying to get in or get out? I have found my use of barbed wire in my paintings lately has given them an edge and mystique that is quite intriguing.






Peace Talks
acrylic on canvas
36 x36
by
Cathy Hegman




The barbed wire themed piece that I will post is one that I painted with acrylic on canvas. My thought was of the world today and the barriers we all face. I would like to interject my thoughts at this point but I do not mean to say this is the only way to think about this piece of art. I used barbed wire to connect the symbol of peace, the white dove, with the three lips, the symbols of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The connecting wire is a metaphor of life. I feel this is how life is for me and might possibly seem to everyone. We cannot get peace without the guidance from above and we leave bits of ourselves on the barbs of life along the way, but in the end we are connected and at peace. It is an abstracted way of looking at life but I feel the older I get the more abstract and less predictable life seems for me.
You will notice that from the design and art standpoint in my painting, that I am using a non objective abstract background but integrating somewhat representational and symbolic elements.I often feel it gets a bit literal, but I still like the way it works on multiple levels, instead of leaving everything to the imagination, I am giving a bit more to the viewer.
Some of my art friends and I meet on the first Wednesday of every month to drink coffee and discuss what we are painting or working on, during our meeting last month Denise Dengler commented that she was once taught that you do not mix abstraction with realism. I think this may be what spurned this painting on for me, as I think that may be a valid point for some artists but I prefer to mix abstract with representational or symbolic and make them work as one.

I have always thought of the art of painting as a wild animal that is never tamed, but one that simply and elusively convinces the artist that they have control when a painting works by giving them the euphoria of completion of a painting and then the next time the brush is picked up, it is out of the cage again and the chase is on. This is why we just cannot stop painting!
I would like to reiterate that on this blog, I am giving my personal point of view and not that of anyone else, nor do I want to push my view on anyone. I would also like to say that the reason I am writing this blog is because every time a see a piece of art that I love, my first thought is not how did they paint it, but rather what were they thinking when they conceived and painted it. The thought process and the road to the finished piece to me is the heart of each painting.


I hope everyone has a great November and enjoys family and friends and remembers to be thankful for all that they enjoy! Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog!

Take care and have a great month!

Cathy Hegman
www.cathyhegman.com
email: hegmanart@aol.com


All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.