Friday, August 21, 2015

"Unfurl" at Galery 1261

Tonight "Unfurl" opens at Gallery 1261 in Denver, Colorado.  Curated by the amazing Mia Bergeron, the idea behind the show was to give its artists free rein to explore an untapped side of their creative voice without the pressure to create works that were sellable or fit in with the artist's preexisting body of work.  This show was an invitation to do something different.  The funny thing with telling an artist to "be different" or "test the limits," is that most of us are already doing the best work we can, in a way we love to do it.  And even if we do get a crazy new idea, by the time that idea comes out, it often looks to the rest of the world exactly like what we were already doing, because you really can't change your style anymore than you can change the sound of your voice.

The invitation to participate in this show was kind of an eye-opener for me because after months of asking myself, "What would I paint if I wasn't worried about sales?" I came to the realization that I haven't been painting for sales and I wouldn't be doing anything differently if I won the lottery.  Except that if I won the lottery I would probably have a serious eBay problem and I would have some wickedly cool costumes and still life props.  But the invitation did give me a chance to do something that Dave and I had been told by galleries over and over again to NEVER DO.  Namely, collaborate on a painting.

The Ritual, 18x26", by Kavid Glone, hanging around the corner
from Vincent Xeus and Joseph Todorovitch.   The Todorovitch is also
called "The Ritual."  Us creative types, eh?
As usual, I helped Dave with the costuming and photo shoot and came up with a cool name in the end, but not like usual, halfway through the painting Dave handed me the paint brushes and let me take over.  Or rather, halfway through the painting, "The Ritual" entered painting limbo and sat facing the wall for a month before we both agreed the only way the painting was ever getting finished was if there was an intervention.  And then we realized we could pitch this as our edgy contribution to Unfurl.  How crazy!  Two artists on one painting?

Sebastian's Harmony
Ron Hicks and Michael Gadlin

Oh wait, it looks like we weren't the first ones to think of that. 

Above is how the painting looked when I took it over.  A strong start, Dave had completed the ebauche and some first painting in areas.  I waited until a time when I knew Dave was going to be out of the house all day and then I started off by developing the background, below:

I dragged the background right over the edges of the foreground objects so that I wouldn't wind up with any haloing or gaps between the subject and the background.  I then jumped into the face and took it as far as I could in one go.  All the alla prima work I've been doing this year has really helped me push things further in each pass and I've gone from being a three pass kind of painter to often only needing two passes on a face.  After the face, the hair was a lot of fun.  I laid down dark paint all over her hair and then used some lovely Rosemary mongoose brushes to whisk little tendrils of lighter paint into it, wet into wet.

Below is day two, the start of the antler.  By now I'm realizing that I'm not just having really good painting days.  It's actually just about ten times easier to finish someone else's painting and that's all there is to it.  I have no idea why this is, because finishing someone else's painting should be like going for a jog in borrowed underpants, but painting this painting was actually the easiest painting experience I've had all year.

 Lots of Velazquez Medium to build up the paint nice and thick.

Still more Velazquez Medium:


And that brings us to the finished piece:

And don't worry, guys.  Our marriage is still intact.

I'm going to share some of the other beautiful paintings that will be hanging at the opening tonight:

Thrift Store, Quang Ho

Smudge on the Nobleman, Vincent Xeus

Right side of Locket, Rose Frantzen

Nimbus, Rachel Constantine

Bird and Red Cloth, Daniel Sprick