Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How paintings choose me

I am intoxicated with the creative process. There is something extraordinary when an idea takes on a life of its own and really dictates its own outcome. That was certainly the case for 'In the Club', the painting of a 1949 Cadillac.

This painting began life while I was visiting my friend John at his antique shop, The History Room. On the wall he had displayed a number of old license plates from various states and years. My first thought was how cool it would be to tie a vintage plate into a painting. That got my head spinning with thoughts of sanding and priming a square directly on the center of the plate for the painting. That idea immediately presented several challenges such as dealing with working on the uneven surface of the raised numbers. This idea also raised the concerns of altering an actual '49 plate. I settled on creating a painting  that would sit above the plate rather than altering the vintage piece.

The painting itself usually dominates my thoughts in the early stages of the process however with this piece, I found myself wrestling with the manner in which it would be displayed. I knew that the work needed to be suspended above the plate without damaging it. The solution came in attaching the painting to a pane of glass in the middle of the frame. The pane would be invisible and not touch the plate at all. This brought me to my friend and master woodworker Larry Rancourt of Larry's Custom Woodworking to figure out the details of this very unique frame. I described to Larry what I was trying to achieve and he immediately took the ball and ran with it. The choice of the framing wood always goes hand in hand with the painting. Knowing it would be a vintage American car as the topic, we ended up deciding on Mahogany with an inlay of Maple.

Now that the frame was under way, it was time to turn the focus on the painting itself. This was the first time that the frame construction was put before the painting itself. I had a 1949 Massachusetts plate so I needed to find a great car to go with that plate. It didn't take long to settle on the incredible 1949 Cadillac Club Coupe. The image for this painting came from John Filiss of Serious It was the perfect image in that it showed all the beauty of the car and prominently displayed it's rear plate which I wanted to replace with my MA plate. From there it was business as usual getting the painting done.

Once the painting was finished, it was installed in the frame. One modification that was made was that the glass that the painting was mounted on needed to be tinted. The plate was visually very powerful and needed to be muted to separate it from the painting. The skill of Diamonds Window Tinting got the pane of glass perfectly tinted.

The result of all this was a painting that literally instructed me the entire way through the process. It is without a doubt where the most successful pieces come from. 

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