Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Patches" and "Drops"

This is a recent rooster painting, "Eli". It's 18 by 14 inches and is the usual acrylic on canvas. A recent discussion about it brought up something I should address. That's the use of "patches" and "drops" on some of these pieces. Seeing the paintings in photographs without experiencing them "in person" (and sometimes then) can lead to confusion about what these things are and why they are there. So here's the explanation.
First, the "patches". They aren't literally "patches". I use that term because someone once, when I first began to use them, asked me if that's what they were; I suppose the questioner assumed they were covering some a mistake or something. No, if I make a mistake big enough that the only way to fix it is to cover it up with a piece of paper, then I just discard that work and start over. The function of the "patch" is more esoteric than that.
It is usually a piece of Arches watercolor paper, sometimes 300 lb to 140 lb, attached to the canvas before painting begins. The intention is to add a dimensional element as well as a geometric rectangular design device which provides contrast to the more "organic" freeform elements of the rooster's or the landscape's forms. It's also a subtle frame for some parts of the painting, usually the rooster's head area. Finally, it gives a texture that's different from the canvas texture, adding some variety to that visual experience.
"Drops" are just that, drops of paint, usually thick enough to have a dimensional quality of their own, which add circular geometric elements to the mix. On other pieces I've used circular marks for the same purpose.
These are design devices that make the work more interesting to me in the process. Some viewers like the effects, some prefer the imagery to be more "conservatively", for lack of a better word, represented. I add these elements when the spirit, if that's what it is, moves me.
Here are some other examples (click on any image to see it a little larger).

This is a rooster painting that has neither "patches" or "drops".

This landscape features a "patch" framing the red leaf tree in the lower center foreground.

"Afternoon Hill" is "patch" free.

A prominent "patch" shows up in this cow painting, while the one below goes patchless.


RRogers said...

Sure like that landscape painting a lot.

Ray-Mel Cornelius said...