PAINTING LUMEN 9

PAINTING LUMEN 9

LUMEN 9 originated from an idea that I brought home with me from the hospital in May of the year 2000. When the idea came to me, the only thing I had to draw on was an advisory pamphlet for patients, so I used the back of it for a rough sketch of the composition. I carried the idea in my head for years afterwards and didn’t get around to executing the painting until ten years later.

Contrary to my usual practice I began this one without doing any color sketches or other preliminary work, other than the rough sketch I had brought home from the hospital. I started to draw the shapes on to the canvas with a charcoal stick. The canvas was already toned a light blue-grey color.

lumen9-progress04
CHARCOAL APPLICATION
CHARCOAL SKETCH
CHARCOAL SKETCH

To make the transfer of the shapes more accurate I enlarged the image on my computer and printed a copy at the same size as the canvas. In some of these photos, you can see the printout, clamped to a piece of cardboard for me to use as my “model”.

After drawing in the major shapes I sprayed fixatif on it to keep the lines from smearing while I painted over it.
I masked off the small door/window at the lower right and loosely painted a darker blue gray tone to separate the inner and outer spaces.

Below is a photo of the painting with the blown up reference sketch, after I darkened the inner space and pulled off the masking tape.

LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS
LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS
LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS
LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS

Once I got a good amount of color on to the canvas I often make adjustments by drawing directly onto the surface with a charcoal or pastel pencil. Pastel pencils are especially handy because you can draw on the painting surface with a color which fits in the color scheme you are working in and the paint going over the lines blends in seamlessly with the pastel.

SEAWALL & LUMEN 9
SEAWALL & LUMEN 9
SEAWALL & LUMEN 9
SEAWALL & LUMEN 9

At this stage “Seawall”and the Lumen painting are both about half done. I would spend a day working on the oil painting, then while that layer dried I would be working on the Lumen painting, which was in acrylics.

I thought I was close to finished, but after looking at the Lumen painting a while I decided I didn’t like the regularity of the rectangular shapes in the background. I later painted them out and replaced them with a more disorganized and erratic complex of lines instead.

LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS
LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS
lumen9-progress30
LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS

I’m holding a curved aluminum ruler made for tailors and clothes designers, which come in three different shapes. I find them more useful than ship’s curves or plastic French curves…and there were a lot of curves to draw in this painting!

LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS
LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS
LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS
LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS

As in all my Lumen works, the essential metaphor is that of a figure making his or her way past great obstacles towards an opening, a source of light. Initially, I painted in a boy on the top of the structure but decided I didn’t like either; both the pose and the placement of the figure fell short of my expectations. After some reflection, I painted him out.

lumen9-figuresketch
FIGURE SKETCH
LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS
LUMEN 9 IN PROGRESS

On a marvelous morning in May of this year, I walked into my studio and saw in my mind’s eye exactly how the figure should be. After another day or two of painting it was finally completed.

LUMEN 9 – DETAIL
LUMEN 9 – DETAIL
lumen9
LUMEN 9

EDITOR’S NOTE: Prints of LUMEN 9 are now available in our shop. These are the first reproductions in the LUMEN series.


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