Beneath The Surface

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Using older paintings or photographs as substrates for later over-painting offers the artist a grab-bag of surprises. Because water’s translucence automatically provides the feeling of an inscrutably mysterious and enigmatic world just out of reach of easy legibility it is ripe for using substrates like old paintings or photos.

Here are a few examples. The first uses mixed-media beginning with a substrate of photography then I apply an overlay of oil paint introducing an entirely new subject.  Example one begins with a close-up photo of a pond. This image gets overpainted as you see in example 2, step two.  I then wipe away some of the overlaying paint to reveal some colors and textures of the photograph beneath. The final image is an amalgam of both images but, its subject is clearly the overlaying marsh.

Example 1.  Pond Photograph 13×13,

Example 2. Step two,  mid-painting of the overlaying marsh,

Example 3. Step Three, Present state,

This process works equally well using an older painting with a vivid set of colors and complexity of forms  as the substrate (example 4, 24×24”). This older painting is then covered with paint with the intention of describing a lakeshore image. Next, I delete selected areas of the overlaying paint to reveal the vivid complementary colors and patterns of the older painting beneath (example 5).

Example 4. Step one, the older painting to serve as a substrate,

Example 5. Step two, present state of the new overlaying image,  

The gradual evolution of a painting can also exploit earlier iterations of an image as changes are superimposed on it.  Example 6 (36×36”) presents the earlier iteration of the painting.  I determined the image was too quiet and lacked sufficient contrast.  This  sparked the added layers of changes you see in example 7.

Example 6.  Early stage or step one,

Example 7.  Present state of the image.


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