Black Lozenges, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 7 x 5 1/2 in.
I am so happy that I still love painting. Days went by with me busy with other projects––textiles, prints, photography, blogging, processing garden produce––and not sitting at my work table, brush in hand. Sometimes I wonder if all these activities, which give me tremendous pleasure, would supersede my first art love, painting. But then I began to work on this new painting, and felt again the calm satisfaction of putting paint on a surface, layering paint bit by bit until I had convincing form and light. It takes a quiet concentration of almost meditative quality that my other pursuits can't match. As much as I love abstraction, there is magic for me in making an illusion on a two dimensional surface.
I'd just written a blog post on translucence, which you can read here, so I had it on my mind. Instead of using black paint for the dark shapes, I decided to paint thin layers of color, which would create a richer and deeper black. I began with a Cadmium red purple, then added Phthalo green, and then Ultramarine blue. I sometimes went back and forth with the colors until I had the black I wanted.
I'd like to also speak to my description of these shapes, which I call "lozenges" because they remind me of pill forms. But according to Wikipedia, lozenges are elongated diamond shapes. I tried looking up "oval with straight sides" and came up with only "stadium shape" or "racetrack shape". It boggles my mind that there's not mathematical term for this shape, since it is fairly widespread. If anyone has the answer to this, please let me know.
I like the repeated curved forms in this image, side to side, up and down. They unite what might otherwise be a divided composition.