Mixed media painting, my newest body of work, is inspired by a need to expand the photograph beyond what we can see into what we can imagine.
In fact, when I think about it, that’s the basis of every piece of art I create. I want to know what else is there to see, to understand, to experience?
I’ve discovered that some patrons want to understand this unique process. Here goes:
I start by photographing the world that inspires me. It might be water. It might be an abandoned historic building. It might be a small portion of a flower. That it inspires me is the key.
I live with the processed image for while. What lives within it? What secret can it tell? What does it want me to know?
When I’m ready to paint, I create a watercolor palate to match, complement and enhance the image. I fill a sheet of watercolor paper with paint. The abstract painting is then dried, flattened, finished and prepared for the final step…
The EMULSION LIFT. This is the most difficult to explain to someone who has not studied photography. It might seem magical… or simply impossible. It’s a photographic process, so basically, it’s chemistry!
I copy the image onto a piece of 8×10 transparency film — a really big slide. Film has two parts: an acetate carrier and the photo-sensitive emulsion on top of the acetate that actually makes the image. The emulsion is microscopically thin, maleable, easily scratched and impossible to handle. That’s why we need the acetate to put it on.
Carefully, and chemically, I separate the emulsion layer — the actual image — from the acetate backing and fuse the emulsion to the watercolor painting, hoping I do not tear it, smear it, mangle it, or place it wrong.
But the magic isn’t in the process. It never is. Art is work. Of course I love it, but it is still work.
The magic is in the finished work. What do you see in it? What secrets can it tell you?
How does it make you feel?
That’s how I recommend everyone to approach art. Art is not to be understood. Art is to be felt. What you do with that feeling is the next step.