“VIRIDIAN”-Dreaming In Green
The newest painting, “Viridian”, is named for the beautiful blue-green hue that was developed in secret in 1838 in Paris and patented in 1859. This popular pigment was used both for fine art applications by such artists as Van Gogh as well as for commercial uses.
“Viridian green hue” in this new painting is a modern acrylic version of the original pigment. I chose the color solely because of an aesthetic attraction, using it in Golden’s fluid form. The fluid acrylic’s consistency allows me to continue my interest in the materiality of surface and medium. There is the same ability to exploit the characteristics of fluids on both cloth and paper which also defines my interest in color on cloth using pigments and dye processes.
It was after the fact, upon the completion of this painting, that I recalled the relationship of this green to my dreams as well. Many years ago, I had an amazing dream, “the green dream”, in which no specific image was seen, only billows of beautiful green, as though viewing the essence of it, clouds of it. That was all. But it was to be an indelible dream memory and helped me to understand the future dreams in which a “vocabulary of color symbolism” developed. Over the years I began to understand that green appeared in my dreams various ways and signified my creative life. As people from time immemorial have assigned various meanings to colors, I believe that we also continue to use color as cues in our dream life. I suppose you could say that, as in blogs, we “tag” important information for future reference.
“Viridian” holds a tribute then, to the power of this gorgeous color as a signifier in my life of being an artist. Beginning with a color is only the beginning, of course. I decided to use a medium which I have used before, an acrylic absorbent ground, on top of the gessoed surface. Since I had just finished working on “My Country”, using fluid acrylics on the receptive surface of my favorite Okawara paper, I wondered how this ground might approach similar characteristics on canvas. I wanted to continue the staining and dot process. I used only one coat of the absorbent ground, though the product label advised that increasing coats also increased absorbency. In this case I am glad that I made only one coat. The separation of color, the tidemark created, and the interesting crusty characteristic of the thicker dots as they dried must be attributed to the ground. There is a “sinking” of the dots in the buff color which caused me to re-paint and build up the fields of dots surrounding the green explosion in the painting’s center.
In the end, the “sinking” was a beneficial element that led to wonderful layers, glazing, to build the visual texture surrounding the green “splash”.