Friday, September 30, 2011
Who Says Don’t Touch? If It’s Mine, Go Right Ahead! by Linda Carmel
How many times have you walked into a museum or gallery and wanted to reach your hand out and touch the texture you see in front of you? You know that’s not allowed. In most cases, anyhow…
I encourage my viewers to touch the sculpted surfaces of my paintings. For instance, this painting of a dining scene is more than a ‘feast for the eyes’. It is a feast for the fingers as well.
While most people think of paintings as flat, I add a third dimension to my work. I use acrylic modeling paste, which is like the spackle used to fill holes in the wall. Generally, the paste is applied with a palette knife, but sometimes I go to my kitchen to find the right tools to get the effect I am looking for.
I build up the surface of the canvas and then sand it smooth. The viewer’s fingers can trace the smooth contours while the eyes enjoy the rich colors. I want to engage as many of your senses as I can. I am drawn to the silkiness I feel when I touch the sanded modeling paste. It’s like well-polished wood or stone.
How do I get a polished surface effect? By rubbing thin layers of transparent colors into the surface with a soft cloth. Sometimes I etch into the surface and sometimes I embellish the final painting with beads and other decorations.
The subjects of my paintings are often chosen because they lend themselves to my sculptural techniques. But there are common themes. Objects like fruit or vegetables are abstracted or made decorative. Figurative paintings explore themes of community, as in my Sand Series or more recently my Inspirational Women Series, that depict women of all shapes and colors coming together to help each other. I am concerned about social issues and the health of our environment, and I often look to history to find patterns. To see an image repeated again and again in art can be calming and harmonious, and this is true of life also. But in our everyday lives, as we repeat tasks again and again, we have the opportunity to focus on each moment as something special, to really see the color of the sky or the sparkle of a clean floor. My job as an artist is to reflect something special into everyday moments.