Purity Complex

Pastels are, without contest, the purest medium you can use. Although pastel may technically be considered a drawing medium, it’s often referred to as a painting medium because of how generous and workable the soft, chalky marks are. I say “pure” because of how minimally the binder visually shapes the pigments. When you look at an oil painting, the luscious oil has just as much presence as the pigment itself. Pastels don’t operate in this fashion. The pastel binder has very little presence, only asserting itself enough to hold the pigments into the shape of a stick and to loosely adhere them to the surface. Essentially, the pigments are able to operate chemically and optically with very little influence from the binder itself. Now, I don’t say “pure” as a qualitatively good thing or a bad thing– don't be wooed by the notion of purity as idealistic. For my work, the physical presence of the binder and its countless possibilities for manipulation is pretty essential, as we've been over before. I personally find pastels to be a bit too loose and difficult to have autonomy over. But man, do I love to make them.

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Grounded by the Infinite

I thought I was at the top of my game, making these neatly trimmed, smooth as skin, drum-tight canvases primed with Acrylic Gesso that you could bounce a dime off of. Then I learned (thanks, Painting Materials & Techniques I!) that Acrylic Gesso was only one of the endless material options that could be used as a ground! What had always been taught as the default, go-to option, was actually just one choice out of so, so many. Acrylic Gesso, Clear Gesso, Colored Gesso, Acrylic Matte Medium, Acrylic Gloss Medium, Traditional Gesso, Rabbit Skin Glue, PVA Size, Chalk Ground, White Chalk Oil Emulsion, Pigmented Chalk Oil Emulsion, Oil Ground... I'll stop there.

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Your Math Teacher Wasn't Lying

When your math teacher said you’re going to need addition and subtraction in everything you do, he wasn’t lying. Painting is a process of what you add and subtract, and the result is just as much about what you didn’t do, what you removed, and what you left incomplete as it is about what you did do, what you added, and what you completed. We’re going to start with basic paint mixing techniques, and somehow end up creating a link between underpaintings and monotypes– positive space, negative space, additive painting, subtractive painting. Seurat, Vermeer and Degas will definitely be involved… perhaps a few others. Game on.

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The Making of Material Things

An introduction to my ideas and ideals: art as study, art as nourishment, art as passion. The Making of Material Things explains material meaning, the limitlessness that knowledge can bring to painting, and outlines the understanding upon which all future posts will be grounded. 

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