After finished the recent batch of paintings on plywood, I decided to apply the same, messy, loose style on constructed solid wood boards. With both of these pieces, I repeatedly cut, glued, and re-cut to create a series of off-set faults that are highlighted by thin strips of cherry and walnut. Once assembled, I cut the boards into unique geometric shapes.
mixed media on wood
20" x 31"
Once prepped with a smooth, clean surface, I started adding and subtracting numerous layers of shellac, acrylic paint, epoxy, oil pastels, and graphite, making sure to create grooves, marks, and scratches as I removed layers, sometimes with course sand paper (by hand and with a Festool obital sander) as well as with a card scraper (it is the fastest way to clean up a surface but it is also a great way to leave marks if you are intentionally rough with it). I even drilled some holes to create more imperfections.
Cutting Board (close-up)
In all honesty, I wasn't thrilled about this work in the beginning, but I decided to just trust the process and assume that I would end up where I wanted to be. Thankfully, as I continued, they started to grow on me.
mixed media on wood
24.5" x 32"
I found that there is a lot to like about them. For one, there are a lot of contrasts that make them interesting -- between the formality (with tightly defined geometric shapes) and the informality (with random, amorphous abstract colors); between the rough, textured wood and the smooth, perfect (french polished) shellac surface; between the visible lines and the sections hidden underneath the paints; and between the beautiful color combinations (including multi-colored brush strokes) and the "ugly" messiness.
One of my major goals in creating them has been to develop a lot of depth, something that would have a lot of layers for a viewer to continually look beyond; which is one of the reasons I chose to go back to using figured wood (curly maple and curly birch) after working with plywood. Once you look beyond all the layers of paint and shellac, you can see the three dimensional waves in the wood that reflect light differently than the opaque sections. I hope that, in this way, it draws the viewer in closer and closer, deeper and deeper, to a place of contemplation, discovery, and mystery.