Archive for November, 2014

Problem solving

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Painting: Crowned Rainier
Crowned (Mt. Rainier in Autumn), oil on canvas, 2014.

Maybe it’s my background in math and science, but I sometimes think art is as much a matter of engineering as creativity.

Just ask Leonardo.

DaVinci Study_of_the_Graduations_of_Shadows_on_Spheres PDwikimedia

After the initial flood of imagination and intuition have brought life to a canvas, I often find the process of clarifying and finishing the work benefits from an analytic problem-solving approach. It may sound unromantic, but removing distractions while figuring out how to make a painting sing is a profoundly satisfying, almost magical process.

Sometimes, however, the problem-solving needs are more material. I worked down to the line on several pieces for the show now on display at Burien Arts Gallery. With the recent cool turn in our weather, the oil paint is hardening more slowly in the studio.

Oil paint “dries” through oxidation, a chemical reaction which occurs more quickly at warmer temperatures. In a hot summer, it can dry to the touch in mere hours, depending on the pigment and paint thickness. In winter, when the building is 20℉ cooler, it may take up to a week.

So, what to do when the painting needs to be delivered to the gallery in two days and the paint is still wet?

heat 9516 small

36 hours propped in front of a heat lamp at home. The painting made it into the show, and the opening was a great success.

The Burien exhibit will be up through November 30, 2014.

Burien Arts Gallery
826 SW 152nd St.
Burien, WA 98166
Wed-Sat 12-7, Sun 12-5.