Over Underworld Vacations in Graton

Over Underworld, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48, Suzanne Edminster

Over Underworld is going on a vacation in Graton.

This painting is part of a meditative abstract series on the links between worlds. I’ve always found it fascinating how much of our lives are lived in fantasy, dream, reading, and contemplation.  These are whole worlds that float beneath us. I wanted to paint the notion of a thin “skin” of organized thought, houses, civilization, geometry, over a beautiful chaos of creative form.  Ladders link the worlds, so, that with focus, we can climb up and down from one world to another… ladders without the chutes!

Painting process:   I established a horizon line for the three paintings, then started a gold and orange spatter process underneath, working on all three paintings simultaneously.  I tried various stages for the top.  You can see some of these in October Underworlds.  I opted to paint the whole thing rather than adding on the black and white paint compostions I had considered mounting.  Then I used areas of intereference paint mixed in with other paints over large areas of the painting, so that they would shift with the shifting light.

The Underwood, 5 x 7 watercolor collage sketch, Suzanne Edminster

I’ve spent little time in Graton, but the painting is currently on loan to Catherine Devriese and Isabelle Proust.  That’s mighty fine company, I would say.  And I did have a drink at the Underwood with Susan Cornelis last night, resulting in this immortal masterwork of a sketch.  Overworld, underworld, Underwood–  after my martini and some fun with Susan, watercolors, and ripping up the Underwood menu to collage, the horizons between them seemed to become , delightfully, more permeable.

Tell me, what lies Under your Overworld?

Mythic News:  I’m going to Rome this Christmas, and had forgotton that in one version of the Trojan myth,  the last of the remaining Trojans fled to found Rome.  I don’t know how this fits in with Romulus, Remus, and the Wolf Mom, though.  I’ve been feeding my soul with the classical warrior heroes, and only periodically get patriarchal indigestion.

Studio News: my new weekend workshop is called Spontaneous Construction and will be offered in the spring.  More soon.

Interference Paints and Alchemical Acrylics

In my last Saltworkstudio class we experimented with interference colors.  Painters are often suspicious of these paints, harboring a worried feeling that incorporating them is the equivalent of a child dumping a mound of red glitter on Mom’s homemade Christmas card, an instantaneous road to kitschy work.  They do have that same quality of toylike holographic change as you shift angles, like Jesus’ eyes opening and closing as you move the 3-D postcard: unnerving and  miraculous. Interference colors are the colors of outer space, in a sense anti-colors, because the show up only by floating on a dark background. Think nebulas, deep space, and the formless cloud Captain Kirk sees pulsing on the galactic horizon.

 On a white surface, they virtually disappear. Nancy Reyner does large-scale, moving abstracted landscapes with layers and layers of them.  If you can make a “value” painting, that is, a black-grey-white grisaille or painted cartoon that has large areas of darker background, you can use them for mystery and emphasis.  They have that phantom quality: like ghosts, they can barely be photographed.  Like ghosts, you have to see them to believe them.  I

Daniel Smith has always excelled with iridescent, interference, and their own Duochrome line.  I particularly loved the Interference Gold and Copper over black.  The colors are sophisticated neutrals with that alchemical edge.  Scratching into them to reveal the black underneath with heiroglyphic marks made me feel like I was creating texts and tablets from a lost continent.  For strange landscapes, I think Daniel Smith’s color Iridescent Topaz is amazing… a sort of tarnished gold over soft grass green.  And I love the Duochrome Electric Blue… a startling shade that can be used for sky or a bird’s wing or for the brush of thought through the space of a mind.Paint an anti-landscape or a stellar event or decorate your dark-surfaced mood. For more interference paintings, visit www.saltworkstudio.net and see class and event photos.