THE CRUCIBLE OF TRANSMUTATION



anecdotes about the creative process

Mysterium Mandala

Mandala image from the painting Mysterium. edge
The final mandala image - detail from the painting MYSTERIUM.

The subject matter of my latest painting, Mysterium, was a major challenge to envision. Creating a portrait of the human psyche, I used symbolic imagery to depict the duality of the mind's conscious and unconscious aspects. Of particular concern was how to best portray the obscure nature of the unconscious. From the painting's first conception, I imagined a mandala, an image based on concentric rings and long associated with the subconscious mind. Ideally, my mandala should be a dazzling sight that would evoke ecstatic, transcendental, and numinous feelings. That goal, of course, would be nearly impossible to achieve. Normally, I do not create "study" paintings; however, to avoid such a task would be to risk ruining a major work. Creating several mandala studies was imperative in order to proceed with confidence in preparing the final painting.READ AND SEE MORE...

Painting RING OF FIRE with Open Acrylics

Detail of painting of female fire dancer. edge
A close up of the painting

The art and mystery of painting is one of my greatest loves. However, I produced no paintings for a very long time due to focusing on my animation career and family matters. In 2010 I regained my motivation to pick up the brushes, but wanted to try a different method. Most of my earlier works were painted in acrylics, but I was disenchanted with the "plastic" look, and particularly their difficulty in blending as they dried almost as soon as the paint contacted the canvas. Conversely I found oil paints tended to get get over-blended, and the fumes and toxic solvents were a turn off. I really liked the look and ease of use of pastels, but found them to be a fragile, easily damaged medium. Fortunately, a new line of paints was introduced in 2008, Golden OPEN Acrylics, which bridge the gap between oil and acrylic. Intrigued by these slow-drying acrylics, I decided to try them out for my new artworks. Having completed several new paintings now, I present this demonstration of the creation of my latest painting RING OF FIRE, followed by a review and analysis of the Open Acrylics.READ AND SEE MORE...

Saint Frog and the Dragon

Miniature painting parody Saint Frog and the Dragon. edge
The painting measures 5 ¼ x 3 ½ inches.

As a general rule, I don’t include painting in the artistic services I offer for clients. Painting is my fine art, intentionally kept free, pure, and uncorrupted from commercial use. One exception was a tiny piece I made as a prop in 1987 for the film adaptation of FROG AND TOAD TOGETHER. It was created for a scene in which Frog reads a story to Toad about a knight fighting a dragon (which I also animated).

Director John Clark Matthews requested a painting for the wall of Frog’s house that reflected Frog’s storytelling. Specifically, a re-imagining of the famous 1470 masterpiece Saint George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccello, except with frogs as the knight and maiden. It took me a full day to paint it, on Bristol board with acrylic paints, surrounded with a balsa wood picture frame. In the movie, the painting is featured up close, then widens out to reveal Frog and Toad in the living room. Most children probably didn’t “get it”, but hopefully adult viewers recognized and appreciated the parody of Uccello’s masterpiece!

Frog reads a story. edge

©2011