Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Art Gallery: Pigeons and Paperclips
Pigeons and Paperclips (2000)
Watercolors and correction fluid on canvas, 18" x 24"
Here are my extensive notes on this painting (both sides), written and revised in 2005:
"Pigeons and Paperclips is a brilliant example of perfect balance. The b-side is just as cool as the front, maybe even better. I don't remember where the title came from, but it has a good rhythm; it refers somewhat to Bert (as in Ernie & Bert) and his love for...well, y'know. They even make a cameo, both here and on The Great Skatepark of Life.
"The front side (The a-side? Worked for Soundgarden.) came together with a lot of special effects from dish soap bubbles to garlic salt to liquid paper. This is actually the Liquid Paper brand, which interacts with watercolors much differently than the Kinko's brand I usually use. This particular brand of correction fluid doesn't mix with water; they clump together in the same way paint would. For this reason, I have almost always avoided the Liquid Paper brand, turning to the Kinko's brand.
"Most of these visual effects are the standard effects for watercolor paintings; the difference this time is that watercolors are being applied on canvas, not paper. Canvas holds water, and absorbs it very slowly. This means two things: one, you can use a lot of water, much more than is possible for paper; two, the slower drying process allows for more stylized patterns and mixing.
"For inspiration, I spent over a year studying oil spills on the street, from parked cars (thanks a lot for the pollution, you jerks), watching the way oil swirls in water. The first time I painted watercolors on a canvas, I discovered that one could recreate these very effects. I also discovered that this was a new idea, never even considered by established artists and academia. This is undiscovered territory.
"So my hope is that you are inspired by these paintings, and feel compelled to create your own. I don't think formal education or great skills are required; to quote one of the many great lines from Porco Rosso: 'Can you tell me the first requirement for a good pilot? Experience?' 'No, inspiration.'"