September 16, 2014

New Work for the New Works Show

F&M Stained Glass - 28 x 28", Oil on Canvas by Tracy Feldman
As I shared in an earlier post, I'm going to be blogging about getting ready for my new show, New Works Big & Small by Tracy Feldman

This is one of the new works I created in the last couple of days because I needed another piece to include in my Reclaimed series.

     This series grew out of the general techniques I used to create my Rouen Cathedral series.  However, these abstracts are painted/constructed upon the bones of earlier paintings.  I used tape to preserve glimpses of the original images, laying it down
to create a new pattern.  

"F&MSG" underpainting
       These images demonstrate the evolution of the image -- from the original underpainting, to the image getting taped up to create the "stained glass" panels and the dividing lines, to the completed work. The work I chose as the underpainting was something I created years ago in a painting class I sat in on at Franklin & Marshall College.  It was taught by a wonderful painter and painting teacher, Scott Wright. He encouraged us to be freer in the way we approached painting, including doing things like painting works in the flat and then later stretching them on canvas.  

      While I loved the class, and thought the work was somewhat interesting, I didn't like it well enough to include in a show.  So it languished for years.  I spotted it when looking for an underpainting. It intrigued me as a candidate for an underpainting because I could use both the unfinished and painted parts to create an underpainting with a large contrast in value. I also loved that parts of a scene of F&M would be preserved.  So I stretched the canvas to preserve the range in value and bits of the original work. 

      As you can see below, the first step to creating a "stained glass" work (a term invented by a 7 year old painting friend of mine), was to use different widths of tape to define and divide the "panes" in the overpainting.  You can spot the different widths because each width of tape was a different color.  

    Underpainting w/tape
  • Here us an interesting painting tip if you ever decide to do your own "stained glass paintings":  Use a putty knife to burnish the edges of the tape and then paint from the tape into the "panes".  If you fail to do this step, paint will be much more likely to bleed under the tape lines, looking quite sloppy.
     At this point I needed to make a decision about the colors of the panes.  I chose a 3-color harmonious group: yellow-green, violet, and yellow-orange.  I knew that I'd be able to combine them together to create vibrant neutrals, and to add white to extend the range of values (dark to light) when needed.
Completed Work

  • Here's another tip:   Don't panic if your overpainting colors look bizarre against the tape, and don't panic if the work looks very sloppy before you remove the tape. 
  • Also, if what you see revealed in the "lines" isn't exactly what you wish, remember that you can use paint to make the modifications you want to get the image that you want. In this piece, I used white paint to clean up some of the marks that sitting around had left on the canvas.  I also used it to change the demarcation between the dark and white underpainting.  For example, having the white lines arrow down into the dark areas seems to me to be much less jarring that  leaving a sharp division between the two areas of the painting.
  • Finally, like with any abstract, don't feel tied to the original orientation you chose when you started the work.  You won't really know until you complete the piece how you want the work to be oriented.  In fact, if you look carefully at the work in progress and the completed image, you'll notice I rotated the work at each stage of the painting process.  
      I really like the completed piece much more than I did the underpainting.  The colors I chose and the neutrals I created with those colors seem to create a mid-century modern aesthetic in the work. I intend to put the work in a floating frame for the show. 

      I'd love your help with making some decisions about how to frame the work. I don't know whether I want to leave the outer part of the frame natural, which would be consistent with a mid-century modern feel, or to paint it black. If I leave the outside neutral, I probably will paint the inside area of the frame black. If I paint the outside black, however, I think it would be best to use a color from the piece as inspiration for the "float" area.  

     I really would like to hear your comments and thoughts.  I'd also love to see you at the show.  I'll be there at Mulberry Art Studios in Lancaster, PA for First Friday, October 3 , 5 - 8 and during Lancaster's Fall art Walk: Sat., 10 - 5 and Sunday, noon - 4. 

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