The new painting, which I call “Tidemark: Clear Blue”, reveals one more example of how work develops and how, over time, links to much earlier work can be seen.This painting follows the directly-previous paintings such as DREAMING OF INDIA, a triptych and related smaller paintings which combine thin washes with thick applications of fluid acrylic “dots” and the rather obsessive small marks which search out and form patterns. The painting is actually a re-working of an early “web” painting, “Clear Blue” which I painted in 2004 but never felt quite sure had reached its definitive state. The original painting’s use of the triangular cream and white stitch-mark is revealed under the thin veils of color painted over it.
This photo shows the middle stage of the painting as I began to layer thin washes which left a darker edge or “tidemark” as the pools of fluid acrylic dried.
I realized as I worked on the painting that the staining and puddles of color and resulting tidemarks were much like a particular technique I used in my hand-dyed textiles years ago.
The next photo shows the technique in textile dyeing for which the painting is named. A tidemark in textile design is often a negative result in which dark edges in the dyed area appear as salts and chemicals dry. I decided to make use of this effect to my advantage and created one of my earliest designs by utilizing this “fault”.
PETRA Fiber-reactive dye on habutai silk 36 x 36 inches
Below, the finished painting with details:
TIDEMARK acrylic on canvas 48 x 24 inches
Allowing the puddles of paint to dry results in edges which form “fences” like the tidemarks in the textile dyeing process. Putting color on cloth in textiles using tidemarks clearly offers similar expressive opportunities in what is thought of as painting in a more formal sense. Without realizing I was again blurring the boundaries of “fine art” and “craft/design”.