March 4, 2014

A New Boxed Paintings: "Squares"

Squares, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 4 x 4 x 3/4 in.

I've really been enjoying working on this series of boxed paintings; the tiny size of the paintings allows for quick explorations of color, shape, composition. For this piece the theme is squares, so all the shapes in the paintings are square, more or less. In sacred geometry, the square or the cube represent the earth, different from the heaven seen in a circle. Because of this, I thought I'd use only earth colors for this project; I have a large variety of them since the pigments are inexpensive and enticing. And yes, even the green is an earth color, a French green earth pale. I have umbers and ochers and siennas, all colors from earth, from dirt, bought from Kremer Pigments; at the link you'll see a marvelous variety of color. Years ago I traveled in eastern Turkey and saw one area with many colored earths, more than we see here in the western United States. 

Squares, top and inside of box

The one difficulty with earth pigments is that they are quite transparent so it is difficult to use them to paint flat shapes. I finally broke down and added Titanium white to my palette; titanium is an opaque white and adding a little to a transparent color with make it more opaque. 

Squares, paintings side 1, each ca. 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in.

Squares, paintings side 2, each ca. 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 in.

Here are the two sides of the dozen paintings inside the box. In some of these photos (click to enlarge) you can see through the transparent parchment to the painting on the opposite side. When I paint each piece I try to keep a relationship between the sides, and I try to keep them different from one another. It's challenging and it's fun.

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