Monday, January 31, 2011

Lessons in Layers

Lessons in Layers

Trees in contrast...nature paints in beauty....

Neither snow, rain, sleet or hail will stop the US Mail or the studio artist.  Our weather has been the complete gamut of extremes.  One never knows what the day will bring.
In the studio the song remains the same, work goes on without regard to the outside world, as it should.  I am revisiting an interesting series entitled Peace Talks.  It is a series that delves into the innermost sanctums of peace and what it takes to achieve it and why it often does not exist. As I grow older, I see more clearly the imbalance and the perpetual struggle for balance that goes on in daily life.  It is this tenuous strain that makes life important; the movement for the positive, the longing for the past or the familiar that keeps us intrigued and glued to the world at large. The world and the fighting lead us to understand and contemplate the peace we long for.

Peace Talk
I began this series with a painting that employed symbols that are familiar in my work and have special meaning to me.  I use symbols to give my work both design and deeper meaning.  Peace Talk is a painting  I have posted before but I will  include it here again to refresh your memory and save you the time of looking it up in an earlier blog. 

Peace Talks
36 x 36
Cathy Hegman

You will notice the obvious references to peace and talk, and the subtle barb wire that gives the idea that maybe the road to peace will not be without its dangers and pain and that maybe it will be about the rights of  territories and enclosures, the lips that are silent.  I really loved this piece and thought it would probably be the only one and that the series would end, and then I painted, Peace Talks II.

 Peace Talks II
48 x 48
Cathy Hegman
This one took a totally different form the design became more complex and more abstracted and geometrical.  I got more involved with the texture of the piece and let they symbols support rather than dominate the painting, and I really liked this one, so much that  I kept it in my studio until a week  ago.    It now for sale Nunnery's Gallery 119 .
 I really thought this would be the last of the Peace Talk paintings till this week.

Stage one this is the part where I fall in love....
I have been painting figures and searching for new ways to paint them, and I usually start all paintings with a loose painterly feeling, I think it hearkens to my love of watercolor and the drips and runs associated with watercolor paintings.   I often fall in love with my paint in the early stages and it is because I love the promise of greatness that lies deep with in the beginning stages in a painting, stages which are usually loose and fresh.  It is shortly after these stages, when the fear and loathing take over, and the fight to pull it off with success begins.  I find this struggle happens in every piece sometimes the finish comes fast and furious but more often than not it comes painfully  slow.  I have grown to expect more from my work than in the past.  Years back if I could just get a likeness to a recognizable subject I was happy, now I have to pull on strings deep in the heart to feel complete in my work and the recognizable aspect is of much less importance.  I have found beauty is truly fleeting and often it is not the most interesting subject to paint, nor the most profound.
The struggle begins with the annihilation of the very parts I loved the most but it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

The covering of all of the wonderful and colorful beginning stages feels like a make or break move and in reality it very well is just that.  The best laid plans often go awry, but it is never lost, it just becomes a new problem to solve.  I often think I am wasting time and paint but this is the part of painting that puts me back at square one and makes me face the reality and presses me to see this with new eyes. This is when the painting goes at a snails pace and marks are made and covered with thoughtful succession in order to form an intricate web of texture that will give new life and meaning to this canvas.  I never leave the original idea of thought, even though I struggle with how to portray it best on the canvas, I constantly remind myself my objective is about Peace Talks and the meaning behind the series.
The problem becomes apparent to me at this stage,the head shapes are too definitive in nature.  I need them to be more ubiquitous in their presentation.   So here comes the hard part.....

I simply painted them out and left only the silhouette and scratched back into them for texture. I am much happier now and I still love them ;but now it is for their anonymity. They are now cohesive with the painting and have a much more general appeal.

I layer many more layers onto the surface of this painting and in turn remove some of  the layers  before I get the linkage in texture and hues that I am striving for in the painting.

detail of texture achieved by adding and subtracting layers and partial layers of pigment.

detail of some of the symbols used in the Peace Talks Series

  Here is the final stage

Peace Talks IV
24 x 30
Cathy Hegman
mixed media on canvas

I know some will read this and wonder why it took so many stages.  Perhaps it could have been completed in less, but I would say  to you, that you have to  live the journey to understand the path that was taken.  There is history in this piece now that did not exist in the earlier stages and it gives credence to the  painting.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope to leave you with peace and hope.  


*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 blog.
*All photography is copyright protected by Thomas Hegman and should not be rep

Monday, January 3, 2011

Beginning and Ending...2010 to 2011

Happy New Year!! Hello 2011....Goodbye 2010!

The date feels foreign until it arrives, 2011 is here and the retrospection of the passing days seems to blur and fade.  A turbulent wind blew 2011 in and left us grateful to see the clear blue morning sky and to feel  the crisp bite of frosty air, a veritable breath of life.  Mississippi is well known for her fickle ways with the weather and I have no reason to feel 2011 will differ in any fashion, but what I do feel is a change in my work.  I began in March of last year working on a series for a show in November and with it, I opened a door into my psyche and work that had been ajar and almost closed before, the cracked opening is becoming more of a portal for a new direction in my work.  I will work mainly if not totally in series of paintings with the effort and intention of trying to hone my focus in directions that best express my thoughts and understandings of what life has become for me. I hope in 2011 to challenge myself to leave marks that will exemplify and give credence to what I have learned on my journey in life.
  I did not make resolutions this year as I never seem to keep them, or for that matter, even remember them past the second week of January, this could be partly intentional and partly old age.  I had a fractured Christmas; I had to spend it in two places to accommodate my need to be with my children,  and found that what I thought was going to be upsetting for me, turned out to be quite nice and gave me a time to focus on each of them separately, which up until now has not happened in past Christmases. Christmas has always been about making sure I did not slight either of them in favor of the other; and Christmas has been in the past; a time consumed by family gatherings with extended as well as immediate family, a time that is fraught with nerve racking hurrying and scurrying leaving little time for enjoyment or concentration on anyone aspect of the holiday.  I have over the years run a checklist of who to buy gifts for and what to cook and where to go that has been a mind numbing din of rote activity . I learned a lesson this year, focus can be a very important aspect of life and in art, without it we simply bounce from one painting to the next, giving them all the same energy and time but not really making a strong statement in any of them.
In the studio the work presses on without regard to what year it is or what season is outside the windows.  The ever present and relentless linkage of art and life continue to manifest in layers of pigment, found objects, and varnish on substrates of wood and canvas. The muse of art and talk are melded and forged into the one idea, my latest series of work:  ArtSpeak, a series of words that speak through the shape of figures.
Silent Scream III  24 x 24 by Cathy Hegman
Silent Scream II 24 x 12 by Cathy Hegman
The latest series I am working on is incorporating layers of acrylic mediums to create a tactile almost encaustic textured painting.  I love encaustic painting and the process is wonderful but I am always trying to create new ways to complicate my work and this is just one more way to do so.  The mediums with the opaque and clear gels allow me to play with obscurity in my work without losing the general idea of it. I blogged last month on the first of these but this month I am working on creating art with not only texture but a deeper interactive meaning for the viewer.  I saw an indie film in which two people communicated by circling words of text in their books to talk instead of ever uttering a sound, this hit me as very intriguing and so I am using my figures to contain the  text and  I have circled words that tell a story.

  I am using my mediums to give the textural depth to the painting as well as to give a patina to the work that bespeaks of age and wisdom by tinting it with differing transparent pigments.  I have completed four and hope to at least finish four more before putting them out in the world.  I have had them in the studio for the last month and everytime I walk through they catch my attention, a good litmus test for any work. If after a month or so the work still resonates with me I feel it is complete and mature enough to leave the nest and face the world of critics and art enthusiasts.

Silent Scream IV 12 x 24 by Cathy Hegman

I am working with the Golden high solid acrylic gels and both Golden Acrylic in this series. I am using earth tones and muted hues to give the shapes and text the center stage.  I  have also used a a few found objects and embedded them in the layers of acrylic gels and paint. I am not in reality much of a collage artist; but I do find on occasion that the addition either paper, metal, or canvas to a painting can push it to another level.  and Nova Acrylic paints 

I hope this will inspire you to try the different acrylic mediums and gels available. Perhaps give yourself a new challenge for 2011 and make it your most creative year yet!  

Happy New Year to all and I hope it is filled with love, peace and joy and wonderful enduring  art!


*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 blog.
*All photography is copyright protected by Thomas Hegman and should not be rep