Once I have decided on a format (square, or rectangular, and its specific dimensions), I have many choices in front of me. I list them all here and then I will discuss one at at time: Support- I can choose wood as in a plank or any other form of found wood or lumber, or a panel-usually a finely sanded and finished flat board with straight edges, or a cradled panel; or I can choose paper, and I would choose a paper that will handle whatever media I am using to make the painting-usually heavier acid free archival paper if i am using oil, but truthfully any paper can work and can be archival if sealed properly; I can choose as my support metal; glass; plastic; any found object of any material. Hey you could choose water if you like, there are no restrictions as to the type of support you choose.
However, a support that is selected to best carry your message, is the best support.
Well how do you know that in advance? You don't. that is why I prefer to work in a series, I choose to work with one format, one type of support and a specific combination of media or materials. Then ideas will come that interact in a cooperative way with these foundational elements! Or I hope so...
I am currently working on several different series. One is on paper ( on top of prints my father made of the city of Pittsburgh), One is on found wood panels, One is on cradled wood panels (birch), and One is on canvas. I did say several and I wasn't kidding.
Each of these supports provides different opportunities for my tools, pens, brushes, nails, etc... to interact with their unique surfaces and lead me in a great variety of directions. I like all options open. And some days one support calls you and another one repels you, best to mind the call.
But the point of today's blog is how to start a painting...and what I really wanted to share is that once my support is selected, I typically begin a painting by laying down some color. Color is full of energy and another layer of information. If I have 10 square pieces of paper, I may put a different color or a different value of the same color on each one. Then my most significant moment arrives...I make a mark. This mark will inform all other marks. It is a mark which will divide the format area into two three or more smaller shapes.
This first mark may also trigger something in the unconscious (I pray for this part) and an image will begin to emerge or rather suggest itself and then I work with the suggestion.
If you have never started a painting or a painting series in this way, you might want to try it on for size. More tomorrow.
TO BE CONTINUED