Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ulan Lavan

Ulan Lavan, 2009, oil/canvas, 48" x 36" is a vertical piece that was inspired by my love of the brush that grows in the southwest near Taos, New Mexico. This painting is typical of works that synthesize several varieties of plant into a visual hybrid. Here, it seems, I have blended tumbleweed with sage.

The sense of rolling motion, the wind, sets up a feeling of movement in the central zone of the painting. I have cut-in two horizontal compositional lines that formally break the canvas at harmonic ratio points. Color plays a key role in presenting a sensual mood. I used some different (for me) violets in the foliage to work with the ochres and yellows in the painting. The cut-in horizontal lines are tinted black and orange to add contrast and intensify the warmth. (You can click on the image for a hi-resolution close up view).

Recent paintings are shying away from too much detail in the back ground. Over the years I have played with adding detailed backgrounds to give a sense of deep space, but these days I'm using a gestural, sweeping, soft focus brush to only suggest the space without driving the viewer's attention into the background. The paint has a lot of oil in it, this allows me to sratch-mark into it, thus creating lines and elements of drawing. I think this adds to the painting's dynamics.