I then stretched my ability to observe and concentrate when I committed to paint one hundred portraits in one year. After inviting the world to come to my studio I had the pleasure of meeting with and painting portraits of one hundred people. This project culminated into "My Tribe", a collection that has been exhibited in two public galleries and may venture out into the world in the future.
In my studio work I had been seeking a medium that would enhance my ideas and aid me in communicating personally and identifiably. I was very excited to discover new qualities and challenges when I combined traditional oil painting techniques with precious metal leaf substrates. After sealing the canvas or panel I adhere the metal leaf and then protect it from tarnishing with a coat of shellac. Once cured the surface is then receptive to being painted on. The completed work allows ambient light to pass through the transparent oil paint and reflects off of the rich metal ground.
As in all my past work I continue to respect and build upon proven principles of composition, design, value and colour. With this medium I must submit to a degree of ambiguity, allowing the characteristics of the medium to direct my creativity. The resulting dance between chaos and control affords me new opportunities of expression.
Initially I turned to this medium as a means to communicate my belief in the universal connectedness and the divine nature of all things. I found the icon painters of the past to be misleading when they used precious metal to separate the spiritual from the physical, the blessed from the cursed, the "them" from the "us".
I see the divine in everything and so I paint every subject over a ground of gold or silver which results in a unified whole. The resulting work has passages of shimmering colour and light and other counterpoints of darkly veiled richness all dependent on the relative transparency or opacity of the oil paint. The metal substrate serves to unify both my individual painting and my greater body of work regardless of the diversity of my chosen subjects.
I look ahead to miles of canvas and pounds of precious metal in the years that I am given as I search for the light within.