I started with a dark landscape on a 16″ x 20″ canvas. I let it be for a month. Stared at it. I knew I’d come back to it. After the Cindy Sherman exhibition, I’ve been thinking about the nature of series and how they explore different angles of an idea or an artist.
When I got home from the exhibit I planned to watch a movie she directed that the exhibit had featured but that I didn’t sit down to watch. I wanted to see it from the beginning. The docents said it was on Netflix. Office Killer. It’s on the old kind of Netflix with mail and DVDs. I’ll get it soon. While I was looking for it, I found this documentary on Amazon called, Guest of Cindy Sherman. It’s directed and produced by Paul H-O an art-scene public access host in New York in the 1990’s and former Sherman boyfriend. There’s a scene in the doc where she’s on the floor of a gallery sorting through photos of her work and organizing them into groups. I do that. Fit together previous prints. Retrospective matchmaking. Rearranging the story. Or putting it back in place. Writing/arting something new from the old.
This series might be a response to or an addition to a series I started in 2014 called “Found Kind Eyes in the Clouds This Time”. At the time I was reconciling some digital photos I had taken of great views and sunsets in the Long Beach area, and my desire to draw, but not draw everything. Not draw something that looks really cool already. That’s how I see it now, anyhow. Check out my process post from 2014 on this series, here.
In this series, I’m hiding eyes/hiding faces, painting over them, finding them again, finding new ones, guiding the viewer toward secrets, rewarding the closer look, implying more, painting upside down, letting drips dry into dimples. I remember that I need to start with what’s furthest away after I’ve started with what isn’t, so as the paint dries I’m blurring space and time.
This untitled series of three paintings have gone through similar transformations. I set out to sort the pictures I took of the process to create a chronological gif of their development. It was hard to tell between them at certain stages in the process. So many eyes are covered over, techniques, paints, and patience are shared between them.
Although I very much enjoy painting and figuring it out, I’m still interested in working with digital art. I’m playing around with digital collages and gifs of the painting process. Like layers in a Photoshop document.
I haven’t digitally drawn on these paintings, yet, but I did mess around editing photos of the paintings.
It’s nice not to rush it. Nice to take a step back. When I take a step back from digital art, it often gets lost in a digital file. [I should print them before they’re done!] With these paintings, I’m able to stare at them without adding anything or feeling the need to.
I’ve moved onto other canvases with these on my mind and in view. I painted one of my easy-up tables that I use for shows. It looks like a mural. I think it’s cool. It’s not done either.
A lil digital play with symmetry. This is 16″ x 20″. I should print it out. Paint on it, maybe.
Although I don’t have to wait to print paintings to see them all at once at actual size, I do have to wait for the paint to dry. They look different once they’ve dried. The layers blend more, revealing more shapes. Like that magic art that you have to cross your eyes to see, I stare at the dried paintings to find faces to emphasize and hide. I’m realizing that I keep Photoshop contrast in mind when I go back to layer paint. What do I want to emphasize? What will make it striking, intriguing, elaborate, clear? What story do I have to tell? How do I show it?
I’m glad that I’m taking photos of the paintings during the process. In a way I don’t lose the layers beneath the progress. I can move forward more easily. Make mistakes. Take chances. I’m a bit worried about doing too much. Covering over the layers so much that they no longer contribute to the depth.
I remember watching a video of Picasso painting at his museum in Spain. I must have been 19 years old. He made like three paintings in one. The final painting mostly hid the shapes he had painted beneath. I wondered if he had drawn those first shapes for show, for the performance, or if they were building blocks or brainstorms for where he was headed. Did he have a plan?
I looked for the video and found the beginning of it, but not the version where this painting continues into something completely different. So imagine the video continuing and the end result is nothing like this. No one would ever know.
The process continues! Thanks for checking it out! Considering how much my recent engagement with Cindy Sherman has inspired me, I’d like to spend some time, revisit, the art and lives and process of Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe, Kara Walker and Lorna Simpson. Andy Warhol. Andrew Wyeth. Edward Hopper. Alexander Calder. Maybe William Burroughs. Or maybe instead of looking back, I should look forward or right in front of me. I’m not sure. We’ll see what happens next.
You Can Find Me…
I update my Exhibition Page with events and galleries Lorna Alkana Art is featured in.
I post twice a week in two sorts of ways: Around Monday I share new art/discussion about the process of works in progress. Around Friday I post segments with Comic Lorna in my audiobio comic series called, Affect.