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Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Secure"

During my residency I worked on a collaboration project with Mark Toncray, a metal sculpture artist. He suggested working together on a project, so I started brainstorming right away on ideas.

My initial thought was to have only the ribbons of the present constructed in steel. I made this example above using a sculpting product called Paper Clay to see what it might look like. I made a framework out of wire first, then wrapped with the paper clay. I wanted the metal inside not only for support, but so I could suspend the piece off the wall (with nails and magnets) for interesting shadows.

I liked the way the clay piece looked but I felt there was something else I wanted to say with the steel. Journaling and doing tiny thumbnail sketches helps me sort through ideas, it's like thinking out loud. I realized I should incorporate the meaning of the material in some way - steel as a barrier, strong, safeguarding - so the idea for the steel box with chains as ribbon and several padlocks piled on top for a 'bow' hit me! This pic above shows the original idea of how I thought it might look.

Then Mark went to work, and appeared with the real thing! This is a picture taken during the reception. I hung the box on the wall along with the drawing and painting of piece.

The drawing is graphite on Yupo. I loved drawing and painting my chain ribbons! Working on transparent papers during the residency was a way to experiment with ideas about losing the box. And suddenly it felt like the box was saying, "oh no you don't, I'm here to stay!"


And finally the painting, "Secure" which is oil on Yupo.

I love Mark's box, it's a more subtle idea of a present, not as obvious as the multiple locks. But being the obsessive person that I am, and being really excited about potentially a strong visual statement, I made a trip to Home Depot last night for more chains, metal flashing, and 8 padlocks. :) Who knows if it will work out, I'll let you know.

13 comments:

silvina said...

I like how you explained your thought process here.
Tell me something; I googled Yupo, and read that it is for watercolor. The oil paint doesn't drag or peel off?

Does it seem to you that the oil paintings on Yupo come out sharper? Because "Secure" looks super sharp. Maybe you painted it that way because your still life was made of metal...

I think this is one of my absolute favorites of your work.

Karen Appleton said...

Thank you Silvina! :)

About Yupo, it is for watercolor, so I am really uncertain what the long term effects of the oil on the surface will be. I have been told that if I frame it properly it will be okay. But I really really don't want to put the paintings behind glass. My whole idea for experimenting with these transparent papers was to suspend the works off the wall and let the shadow from the wall itself play a part in the paintings, plus I loved the idea of the present floating off the wall, hovering kind of...??? if that makes sense. From now on I might use a multi-media vellum which might be a more stable surface for oils???

Painting on the paper itself was a tremendous joy! I LOVE the way the oil paint glides across the surface. I normally paint on an oil gessoed canvas though, so I'm already used to working on a super non-absorbent surface. I LOVE having the paint sit on top of the surface instead of sinking into the surface.

I think the sharpness comes from not having a background, possibly?? I've been sort of dependent on using the background to work my edges, and I think leaving the paper untouched for the background made me really focus hard on the placement of all the outside edges...no second chances :) It is definitely something I will think about in my next paintings.

I love having your feedback Silvina!! Thank you so much!

Christine said...

I too am fascinated by your process. I am familiar with Yupo but never thought about painting with oil on it.Your comment answer helped explain some of my questions, but I am curious how you would frame it "correctly." I wouldn't want to put glass over it either.....
Really lovely and "edgy" piece.

silvina said...

Yeah, that was my other concern; how can you frame it? If it's floppy, it needs some kind of support behind it, or has to be glued or stapled to a board, then framed. hmm. I love the experiment though. This is how unexpected breakthroughs happen.

Karen Appleton said...

Christine and Silvina, the framing issue continues to perplex, but while at the residency, Mark made me a shadow box style frame with a white background. Then put nails in the corners so I could 'suspend' the painting in a frame very similar to how I hung the paintings right off the wall. The look of the painting in the frame is perfect - floating and not trapped behind glass, but I'm not sure if the paper needs to stay permanently more rigid? It is something I will continue to try and figure out. If you two get any ideas let me know :)

Tammy Hext said...

Oh I love this!!!! So cool - the painting, drawings and the sculpture. It reminds me of some intaglio prints I did in school working with chains as subject matter. Cannot wait to see more.
You rock Karen!
Tammy

Karen Appleton said...

Thank you Tammy!!

Alexandra Rae said...

Just found you through Design Darling, or somewhere in the blogosphere. Your portrait work is OUTSTANDING. Your skin tones are perfection, all of it is. I love your work!!

Karen Appleton said...

Thank you thank you thank you Alexandra!!! LOVE your blog, have added you to my blog roll. You are so very kind, and I greatly appreciate your compliments!!

Steve sculpts critters said...

Love it Karen.
How about a David Blaine bobble-head doll perched on top of the frame - or is that just silly?

Karen Appleton said...

Ha ha ha Steve! Blain could never break into my box! ;D

Anonymous said...

There are people who think that Heaven gave us God's Christmas present in this way: locked up, in a steel box, inaccessible. Unless you have a very special spiritual key. Boy, would I like to tell them it's for real! Like you sending presents around the world. Bless you. Harry from Holland

Karen Appleton said...

Harry from Holland!!! You are the best, I love it! thank you so much for this comment, it brings tears to my eyes. I can only hope the presents make it around the world and everyone has a part in breaking these chains!