Thursday, November 19, 2009

Up Close, Personal

Here are thirty close-ups of a bunch of paintings, old and new. Several of the shots are good examples of the effects of painting on gessoed paper (mostly Arches or Fabriano hot press). All are regular watercolor, "acrylic watercolor, " or a combination of both. The pic above (from the Misteria series) is a detail of granulation that resulted in a nice verdigris effect.





























33 comments:

Billie Crain said...

Thanks for the closeups! This couldn't come at a better time for me, Nick. I finally decided to give the fluid acrylics a try on gessoed paper. I love the fact that the acrylics ar permanent. That's also why they scare me.

joel said...

this is actually quite a revealing set of photographs Nick! great to see these up so close - it help me understand a lot more about what i see on my paper when i am painting (and often despairing!) and wondering about the direction in which the piece is going...

Sandeep Khedkar said...

Thanks a lot! They are a treat to watch!

chris! said...

dude, i hate to tell ya this in public - bu t u know i'll say what i think in private..

nice - i think, in some respects that the cropped versions are paintings in their own right.

i remember sue archer telling me one time, cropit, paintit and cropit and paintit again.

u da man. i'm insipired again. see u soon dude,

chris!

David Burge said...

All great little paintings in their own right, as Chris already said.
A quick summary of the last few years in a glance.
Where did that decade go?
I feel like I need a pair of those super spikes that climbers use. Need to get a grip on today...make it last a little longer!

Mary Lou said...

A treat to see these Nick! The 2nd one, I don't recall, but the first thing that came to mind is "Guess who's coming to dinner?" Thanks for the nose to glass view ;-)

Alex said...

outstanding Nick! a pleasure to see yuor technique in detail. Very smart closeups, each one is a great painting itself

siete said...

Beautiful fragments of your works, Nick, I've enjoyed them very much.
You know I love your painting.

I wrote you an e-mail a few days ago, no response, any problem? Haven't you read it yet?

A very big hug.

Enrique.

W. K. Moore said...

Looks like you have your own "Greatest Hits" series Nicholas. Some of these I don't remember seeing so it's a real treat to have this opportunity. Also it's interesting to see some of the variance in style and contrast it to current work. The flag painting grabbed me (not because of patriotism) with the use of wet-in-wet paint application to get a surreal blue feeling.. viscous and REM triggering. I feel like I've been to the Simmons Wing at the Institute - yeah ... oh yeah.

Tonya Vollertsen said...

Really fun to look at each of them up close! Great idea, what prompted to do this? It really highlights a major element in watercolor for my taste, that watercolor should show the water influence. There should be no doubt that it's watercolor. You show that so beautifully!

Tonya Vollertsen said...

I just went back to re read your post and noticed something I've missed before now... do you always use gessoed paper? Also, are you getting granulation with acrylic? I have never been able to get granulation other than with watercolor and only in some colors.

Micah said...

Thanks Nick...what a treat! I was getting curious about the bleeds with the fluid acrylics. Signed up today for the March workshop and am glad for this little peek/preview!
Looks like I better bone up on your materials list....haven't touched acrylics in 32 years lol

Deb Townsend said...

Love being able to study these close up. Thanks for the treat!

Susan Liles said...

Great treat in studying these closeups, nice eye candy! Had some ahha moments while studying these. Experimenting myself with the "fluids". Thanks!

chris! said...

micah,
you'll love the fluid acrylics. simmons turned me onto them. he's right - there great.
chris!

Nick said...

Billie - no worries, they're just like watercolors, but less expensive. The permanence can be a real plus, for instance in the highly unlikely event that your work might be submerged under water for a week or so. It can happen! (Cedar Rapids, Iowa is my hometown and I have a lot of pictures downtown)

Joel - I think if you can see a person's work up close, that's all you need to know about how they do it

Sandeep - one of the best things about watercolor is all the amazing details it creates for you

Chris - I like that line, and I'm going to use it. If you could give me only one tool to fix paintings with, it would be the scissors!

Dake - yes, Base Camp seems like a long time ago now. This North Face route is a bitch, isn't it?!

Mary Lou - that's a detail from a painting based on an old Paris photo. I changed some things - the woman with the hat in the center of the pic is my wife.

Alex - with pics of larger paintings, it's impossible to see what's really going on without detail shots. Sometimes they're better than the whole picture!

Enrique - always an honor to see you here, mucho gracias. I'm catching up with email today, and hope you're enjoying the CDs!

Bill - I remember another guy who really dug the flag, thought it looked like it was actually moving. However, I do believe he had done some LSD at one time. :)

Tonya - people are always interested to see close-ups, esp with the larger paintings where detail gets condensed. Don't always use gessoed paper, but it does create some nice texture, and the ability to easily lift, if needed. You can see it in the two koi pics, the black kid in Nassau and sign, the pink floral, and the face of the Nassau girl. I found you can get any color to granulate if it hits the paper with some force -- dropping it from several feet above, for example. Trouble is, that technique isn't appropriate for some paintings, especially the ACEOs, heheh.

Micah - signed up? Don't threaten me! I'm sure it's going to be a real drag with you there, what with your boring personality and all. Are you bringing the blender or the mix?

Deb - OK guys, this is the fifth time for "treat" and I see another one coming up fast!!! What's going on here????!!!

Susan - my treat ;) I don't know if you want to start with portraits, maybe something more forgiving.

Catherine said...

Great ! This is just what I call the magic of watercolor (in the large meaning of this word) !
Thank you for letting us, Europeans, discover new techniques through these close-ups. Indeed, gessoed paper offers great results but is not commonly used in this part of the world.

Nick said...

Catherine - I'll look forward to a treatise on the subject, your insight would be much appreciated!

Nancy Lee said...

These crops are wonderful for all the detail they reveal (and like chris said perfect as stand alone's)....now I can see how it all comes together...Thanks, teach!

"Z" said...

mmmm, where do you find time for all this...i barely get up and the day is done... good stuff nick

Nick said...

Nancy - when you figure out how it all comes together, let ME know!

Joseph - I'm on to you, mate...the painting is a cover for your job tending bar at the pub!

Micah said...

LOL

devotedmomof7 said...

I thinks that these crops show the real genius of what separates you from the crowd. Your paintings are mind-boggling in size and completeness viewed large-scale. Then, the viewer can go in close and be mesmerized by each small section. It's that closer inspection stuff that sorts the men from the boys. It's like every little section is a mini-masterpiece.

devotedmomof7 said...

Oh, did I mention that they are a treat?

Nick said...

Micah - just found out I'm going to have to change the date of that York workshop, I'll be in Shanghai that week. (don't get the chance to say that too often, gotta take it!)

Cheryl - it's a different kind of detail than most paintings, more abstract. I'm sure lots of folks prefer a more conventional approach to detail, but maybe this appeals to people who like the ambiguity and like to exercise their imagination. But really, they probably look best from a distance...some would say a loooooong distance!
Treat to have you stop by! :)

Teresa said...

What a treat for the eye, it's fantastic having the oportunity to see such details, can I ask you about the 15th one? I'm not sure if I haven't seen the whole painting or if I just can't relate this fragment to it, is it in your web?

Nick said...

Teresa - hola, I think you're talking about one called "Tokyo Express" - it's posted a few times on here and it's on my site. thanks for stopping by, just saw the great cards you've made, bravo!

Micah said...

I had a feeling those two events would overlap! Will keep painting here and look forward to maybe gettin together with you in the future! Have a wonderful time! Can't wait to hear how your visit goes, take lots of photos!

Annaquarel.les said...

Though I can recongnize some of your paintings, these close-ups look like new paintings to me. You have brilliantly chosen great details.
I like the textures on gessoed paper. I'd like to know more about the process. They remind me of colour negative films. Thanks for the treat!

wayne said...

Hi Nick,
This selection really gives a glimpse into your diverse strengths in a number of crucial areas of art imo. Color. Composition (division of space). Transitions and conscious juxtapositions >> chromatic/musical resonances. Figuration. Values (absolute and relative) . Textures (implied through granulation, and literal)..
I could go on...

Brilliant!!

cheers
Wayne

Nick said...

Micah - I don't know if they're going to be able to reschedule that for 2010, hope so. I'm very sorry to have to cancel, but... one can't disappoint a continent! (Whistler quotation, lol)

Anna - hola and thank you for the visit. I've made paintings that were based on close-ups, a neat way to wring a little more out of a good idea. If you haven't tried that, I recommend it. saludos!

Wayne - you've been on my mind a lot, and I've been on an LVB binge for a good month it seems, thanks to you. Next week I'll be in FL hanging out with a classical music scholar and conductor who's extremely knowledgable about Beethoven. I've already told him about LVB9 and can't wait to show him as we crank it. He's gonna freak! I sure wish you were going to be there. He puts Beethoven on the very top, above all, no questions. Interestingly, neither one of us cares particularly for Mozart, howz that for some high standards!!!(or low brows, heheh) I'm not sure where I am on all that, except that Bach likely requires a special category. His music seems to spring (for me) from a musical Big Bang, whereas Ludwig feels like the ultimate union of finite biology and infinite physics. But then I start thinking about the incomparable melodic genius of Chopin, who of course had the benefit of building on those who came before. Ah...but then I feel the pulse and savage sensuality of Albeniz, Granados, deFalla and the heart sets aflame. (or the Spanish Dance from Swan Lake - did he "get" Spanish music, or what!?) Oh man, it's all too much! Pathetique playing right now, as I type. Thank you Wayne, Nick

wayne said...

Hi Nick,
..seems you have definitely tuned in to the imaginal wave band (discussed by Darryl Reanney in his book Music of the Mind). Beethoven said this, 'I despise a world which does not feel that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy' - Beethoven.
Thanks Nick for the detailed reply to me here, and I truly wish I could join you and your academic friend, Beethoven-devotee AND conductor>>wow(!) Ride the Wave, Stay in the Zone.
cheers
Wayne

Nick said...

Wayne - if I ever knew that quote, I had forgotten it. I'm inclined to agree; I believe music is the most profound medium of artistic expression. I've quoted this before (and a fragment above), but will do so again...from my dear departed friend, Randy Kentfield (see June 20, 2009 post). I love this!:

It seems to me the various art forms are at varying stages of spiritual development, which I take to be a progression from identification with finite biology to a union with infinite physics. Dangling from the lowest rung of Jacob's ladder are the verbal modes of expression. Poor, harried humanity, in order to deal with the world at the level of animal survival, has invented labels for what it sees, and has become attached to those names; the underlying processes are hidden from dull men's eyes by the dead weight of their illusory forms. The visual artist is somewhat more liberated. He can transform an animal's limited eyes into totally new ways of seeing. But the musician - that man has forsaken folly and revels in God, deals in a fluid medium unseen and unfelt but ecstatically experienced.