Oceanic Vessels

posted in: Painting | 3

As a child I watched as Jacques Cousteau discovered ancient amphora on the seafloor of the Mediterranean. I would imagine their history, their shipwreck, their spoiled contents, and the slow corrosive work of the sea on their aging appearance. Cousteau had interrupted the infinite sleep of these amphoras. Far above their seabed resting place the Mediterranean had splashed and undulated for millennia.  I thought I might return the experience of the sea to these ancient forms.

Example 1 shows a design/legibility error.  There is a light colored bar circled in red on the right side of the jar. This shape needed to be changed. It gave an erroneous and uncomfortable design experience.  It appeared disconnected to the meandering surface waves within the rest of the space.  In example two I reintegrated that area with the rest of the surface by introducing a rising meander  of waves.   This meander is also reminiscent of dragon and pine tree forms on ancient Chinese jars. This gesture further helped  reinforce the illusion of volume in the jar’s form.  The blurring of the base and outside edges further developed a realistic illusion of volume.

Example 1. Painting with circled problem area.

Example 2. Painting after introducing a rising meandering wave pattern.

Last week I presented example 3, another oceanic vessel. I saw that I should give more illusory volume to the form by softening, lightening, and blending some of the edges of the design form.  Both examples 2 and 3 are painted on 24×24 white enameled laminated aluminum panels.

Example 3, Oceanic Vessel, Rising Tide, oil on laminated aluminum.

Recalling the imagery of Chinese and Japanese antique jar/vases I decided to create a soft marsh landscape with reeds and leaves that appeared to climb and embrace the vase. I used a traditional Claudian landscape design with a distant visual goal (the far meadow) which I curved to help with support the illusion of the jar’s curvature. Example 4 demonstrates the result to this point.

Example 4. Oil on white enameled aluminum, 24×24, “Marsh with Infinite Meadow”.

Next I departed from my ancient vessel theme to try an illusory sphere. This sphere would hold an appearance of an aerial view of Manhattan which floats over a distant Manhattan below. I hoped for a fun and fanciful experience.  You can see how this image is developing in Examples 5 and 6. I plan to give a more glistening spheroid experience by later adding and blurring the paint. But, the process requires that I allow the paint to dry before continuing.  If this unrealized third step looks interesting I will present it in a later blogpost or instagram post.

Example 5. Step one, Floating Spherical Manhattan.

Example 6. Step two, Floating Spherical Manhattan in present state.

Example 7. Step three, unavailable and forthcoming…

Until June 17 please visit an exhibition of my (40) paintings at Susan Powell Fine Arts in Madison, Ct at 679 Boston Post Road, 203 318 0616.

Saturday and Sunday June 17 and 18 from 9 am to 4 pm, I am giving a two-day in studio workshop, “Natural Elements: Learn to Paint Nature from Historic and Contemporary Techniques” At the West Hartford Art League.  Call them (Elisabeth McBrien) at 860 231 8019 to register or visit their website at westhartfordart.org  go to “school” then to “workshops”  then to “spring 2017 workshops” for a fuller description.

Join me for a viewing of new works at the Adam Cave Gallery in Raleigh Durham, NC on the evening of Sunday June 25th.

3 Responses

  1. Patricia Scanlan

    These vessels are even more amazing in person. Thank you for your
    enlightened classes. You put so much thought into each blog, each class,
    each instruction. The best!

  2. Mimi Games

    The Oceanic Vessels are amazing! Your new ideas and concepts are always
    exciting. Your work always expands the mind.

  3. anna

    Your blog caught my eye because I work with glass art and glass vessels and sculptures a lot of the time. Your vessels are amazing. I love your work

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