Passing Ships

2016    50 x 40 Inches    Oil On Canvas


50 x 40 Inches

Oil On Canvas

He stayed true to his own mind, that of a of a16 year old boy, who roamed spotlit halls of limitless imagination. Apparently a self-contained museum of wonder was placed on his shoulders at birth. He yearned to witness the northern lights; The Aurora Borealis.

A night sky would be required. He brushed a pure Ultramarine hue into cobalt violet, gradually blending, as it lowered to the horizon. There it would meet and contrast with the Prussian blue-green sea.

The painting is laid flat on the table now, he works rapidly with arms outstretched moving them back and forth quickly, blending opposite hues of mat tempera, that dry fast. He chose the tempera over his cherished oil, wanting to make a discernable phenomenological leap into an altogether different material affect. It would be required for his senses to feel the glint of magnetic ether in space. Every picture contained an experiment. He sought to invent a way to illustrate the magnetic color prism of the upper atmosphere. It becomes visible to the naked eye, near the pole, under perfect circumstances.

He determined French pastel, crushed fine ,then carefully rubbed gently over the weave of canvas, would cling to the ultra-matt dry tempera in an unusual way, like tiny particles of light, it might have the feel of star -stuff. He would need to be accurate and get it right first attempt, as the fine powder of pastel, ground down in his mortar and pistol, would stain the dry tempera irreversibly.

The powdery design quickly filled the deep hues of heaven…he exhaled. Not quite elated, liking the lime passages feeling of magnetic light. The use of raw dry pastel pigment conveyed the appearance of photons to his minds eye, something oil paint could not do. Yet something ,a possibility persisted…

Unexpectedly, the obvious occurred to him, the sea would mirror, the sky and its iridescent design. Lime-green on the water might feel redundant, its retinal function is cold yellow to some and too much yellow rules a painting harshly. Like in math or physics equation, an artist can reverse polarity seeking color escape. He reversed the lime to brilliant pink, stationed diametrically across an art students color wheel; a color compliment.

Could any color phenomena be unnatural under the Northern Light? There was inherent latitude now, when natural phenomena exceeds that of art. Color expressivity would seize awaiting opportunity. The Aurora Borealis in the sky could be a seductive abstract color painting alone,without a horizon or witness to provide a time and space reference.

As he sat and stared into the expanse of electric sky and sea on his canvas, heimagined the three masts of a pirate ship, lumbering out of the mist. On a fleeting whim, he sketched it in charcoal and poised its heading away from the middle ground ,softly floating into the color abyss.

The picture now referenced another epoch in the background, the foreground begged for a dynamic presence that would suggest present time.A temporal discontinuity suggested a dream state to him, which matched his inner needs, create an alternate reality inside each painting. A place for audience and artist escape to and meet. The foreground figure could be a dream she would need to be sculptural and in profile with only essential detail; an idyllic female form. She would be painted in thick shiny oil, seducing the viewers senses with texture as well as color. A material contrast between the dull perfectly smooth mat finish of the background tempera versus the rich luster of oil paint, applied thickly with a palette knife.