Four weeks out from my heart surgery, I dove into acrylic and watercolor work on paper. I was still a month or two away from returning to work, but my energy was increasing. The previous paintings I worked on were all on the iPad, and didn’t require and setup, paper or real paint. I didn’t get as far with these hand-painted pieces, but the one I did finish gave me a great sense of balance and satisfaction (scroll to the bottom for that).
Just as I started the digital paintings with carefully laid out patterns, I chose to start these with a geometric grid. A former mentor of mine named George Walker taught me the technique of drawing transparent paint on with custom brushes and guides. I used the ruler on my drafting table to get the background lines painted on.
Simplicity is a great place to start from, but also easily crosses into complication. These paintings became slow moving after a pretty vigorous start. In other words, still in progress. Work that is geometric in nature seems to require a bit more consideration in the finishing stages as any small move stands out. This is opposed to more gesture and color-rich work which often can be finished in a creative storm.
I managed to finish one painting and put the rest of the project into hibernation…
I’ve spent the last 5 months recovering from open heart surgery. My art and design work have played a critical role in my recovery. When faced with life or death situations, there are a wide range of visual imagery that come to mind. Everything from empowering, light filled environments to dark, mysterious and menacing motifs. I made a conscious decision to follow the path that was most comforting and healing to me.
The first drawings and designs that I did during my recovery at home, were geometric and colorful. A neutral balance of shape and tone; not overly excited or rich in movement. A few of these designs are complete and are linked and embedded here. There are a roughly 6 of these designs that I feel confident in publishing here and should eventually add to the storefront.
The geometric “drawings” were a little more than digital coloring books that I made myself. In this case, they are based on tesselations that I found online. I added the tesselation pattern as a layer in my drawing and applied color one small shape at a time. This worked well as I was just a few weeks out of the surgery and my mobility was extremely limited. As I said, I did not finish them all right away as they are time consuming and very demanding in terms of focus and patience.
Eventually, I wanted to add some more emotion and colorful movement to my digital paintings. I started by painting behind the pattern layers, which was in essence, painting “blind”. I discovered that removing the pattern layers (which blocked my final painting) was a moment of sheer luck. A few of the paintings completed this way are examples of what I would strive for in abstract colorfield painting. Very satisfied with the results.
I was at this point, 4 weeks out from my surgery, that I dove into actual acrylic and watercolor work on paper.