A work in progress

Sometimes, when I start a painting, I’ll decide the colours. For this one, I visioned red, radiant red, so I added Cadmium reds and yellows to my palette.

I decided that I would use my audiograph results, and a sonograph of a favourite song. I would sketch out the sonograph, and try to imagine what a spectrogram would look like for this song.

I start with the audiograph line, and then I work in the sonograph with a colour, knowing that I’ll eventually paint over this. This just positions the lines and colours.

When I started painting with the cadmiums, I was taken aback by the intense colours, and by the difficulties I experienced in mixing them. They are strong colours, and what I call strong mixers. When you mix a lighter shade to a colour, some colours change quickly; cadmium reds don’t change easily.

When I feel like I can’t control the colours, I feel inadequate, that I’m doing something wrong. Even looking up colours doesn’t always help. The materials don’t want to cooperate with the vision I have in my mind.

Then I stop working on it for a couple days, to let the paint dry enough. Eventually, I return to it, and keep trying to coax the colours to match my vision. I would say that today, it’s starting to come close to what I’m trying to get at, and starting to get into shape and place. I am still not happy, but I feel that we’re starting to come to an understanding.

The photo I’m attaching is a work in progress. It is far from complete, but I’m posting in its entirety instead of a detail snippet.

Looking at it again, it reminds me of looking into the throat with a endoscope…?




We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil  a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

Published March 22, 2016

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