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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hidden Messages



Painting the Roses Red 30 X 30 acrylic, ink, oil sticks, and charcoal on canvas for The Three Muses.

I admit it. I'm a huge word geek. All English majors are. We sulk over Scrabble points, giggle over words like "vituperating" and "obsteperous," and sneer at people who say "that being said" and "refer back." We do well on standardized tests, quote Monty Python and Elizebeth Barrett Browning, and collect old editions of Alice in Wonderland. We write haiku, work crossword puzzles in pen, and ridicule poor spellers. We smugly recite the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales in Old English to anyone who will listen and think Latin roots are the coolest.

So, when The Three Muses announced this week's theme "Words," I was in my element. Like all my recent paintings, this one has an underlayer of words: sheet music, room service menus, vintage magazine pages, ticket stubbs, and receipts. I glued these on my canvas along with decorative papers and brushed on acrylic paint allowing the shapes of the papers to dictate the placement of colors. Once the first layer of pink, blue, and white, and green was dry, I brushed on some burnt umber and wiped most of it off, leaving just enough to emphasize the texture of the underlying layers. Then I applied brown, gray, and black distressing inks and created a vase of tissue paper and thick-bodied Golden white paint. Next, I adhered flowers made of acrylic "skins" and added details with Alazarin Crimson and Payne's Gray acrylics. The last step was to add shading with oil sticks and to outline the vase with a piece of charcoal.


This piece is going to stay with me awhile; I painted it for the Chastain Arts Festival the first weekend in November, but if you are intereted in purchasing this painting, you can e-mail me at kathymccullen@aol.com.

26 comments:

Lori Saul said...

This piece is so joyful and I love the simple elegance of its power Kathy. Good feelings!

Judy said...

Love the vibrancy of your painting, Kathy, the flowers are eye-popping - perfect!

William said...

It seems like we have to take your word about the words being underneath. But the painting is wonderful! I love the texture the pieces of paper made. :O)

Junibears said...

Gorgeous colours. all blending together to make a perfect whole. Love it.xx

indybev said...

I wouldn't be able to part with this one were I you, Kathy. It's stunning in its simplicity, yet it has such depth.

By the way, I read your comment and thought "Gee, I always thought it was obstreperous.....and sure enough it is! Typo?" (Medical transcriptionists are as bad as English majors!)

Hermine said...

Its gorgeous

missy k said...

This is delightful.... the colours are fantastic. I LOVE background.

Taluula said...

Kathy, I often wish I could be a fly on the wall of your studio just to see and be inspired by what you do. I am totally intrigued by how you give so much life to your paintings by leaving hidden message layers and little secrets within.

Need I say, this is mouthwatering brilliant and I love it?!

vintage wil said...

Its gorgeous!!

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Your painting is fantastic. Love how you've taken this theme... Hidden words, great idea.

Tumble Fish Studio said...

I know this is gonna sound so over the top, but . . . for some reason visiting you today made me kinda teary. The combination of music and your lovely paintings - it just moved me somehow. Maybe it is mid-4o's hormones, maybe you got me to my happy place and I've missed it so much it was reunion tears, maybe it is just one of those moments when you recognize something really special and it moves you. For whatever reason, it IS special to visit someone who clearly has so much talent and whose work is so personal and unique and glorious in color and intuition.

Thank you for visiting me. Keep coming back as there are more prizes coming this week!
marsha

Lizbethem said...

Beautiful art. I love it!

Jackie said...

It's beautiful, Kathy. I love how the words are hidden from view!

Luisa Migon said...

Beautiful work of art!!!

Cynthia Schelzig,Cynnie said...

I found your blog through the Three Muses challenge...wonderful art...beautiful color,,,,love your blog!!

Faye said...

Kathy, your painting is gorgeous. In reading your description, I realized what a huge amount of fun it must have been to create. You have accomplished the look of a digital painting, only you can hold yours in your hand! I enjoyed reading your bit about words, too. I love words, but only slightly less than numbers. I usually do the crosswords every day, but I never miss doing the Sudoku.

Giggles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Giggles said...

Giggles said...
Kathy I am wanting to paint so bad, but lately my muse is asleep. Thanks for sharing your process...it has awakened my spirit again. These lovely bright colors so dear to my heart and the lines are gorgeous....I am a word freak, non English major who has a passion for scrabble and would be lost without spell check... Years of being one with words makes me a great scrabbler, hence the name....happytiler!!! lol

Hugs Giggles

Check for the missing R....my spell check is telling on you...

Kathy McCullen said...

See what happens when I type sleepy! I'm SO glad there are other word geeks out there (YOU know who you are)!

Effie said...

That's one stunning canvas!

brooke said...

Great technique, I love the way it turned out.

Brooke
http://www.momentsofelegance.com

Anjas-Artefaktotum said...

I love your beautiful pictures and now I comment the picture below.
Hugs Anja

*jean* said...

oo there it is....amazable...i love this one the most of any...hope you had a lovely birthday

Janet Ghio said...

"wan that Avril with it's sure sota, the drote of Mars has pierced through the rotta and bathed every vein in swich liquor"--okay, I can't spell those old English words--don't laugh--but I do remember having to memorize the prelude to the Canterbury tales and I'm not even an English major! (Funny the things you can still recite after a gazillion years!) i love your new painting--those paint skin flowers that you make are great!!

Terri Kahrs said...

Kathy, Happy Belated Birthday!!!! Hope you had a wonderful day filled with laughter, family and good friends!!!!!

Love this piece, and adore the fact that you are a wordsmith extraordinaire. Although not an English major, I've always loved words, scrabble, Latin roots and diagramming sentences! (My husband, the Accountant, doesn't understand, nor does he share my fascination!)You've elevated the humble 'word' to new heights with your vibrant tribute! Bravo! Hugs, Terri xoxoxo

Yet said...

Through out high school, I was sure that I was going to be an english major. I event put English down as my desired major when I applied for college. But get this, the very day that I stepped onto campus during orientation, something changed and when I signed in, I decided that a Business major was more "Me". I got my second major in French and often considered getting a minor in writing.
Reading your post is vaguely amusing for me because now I understand a little more why being an english major was not for me. Oh sure, I excelled at writing and reading comprehension. I could write essays that would make a harvard professor cry. However, I was and am a terrible speller, I love scrabble but mostly to see what other people are going to put. I say "that being said" all the time! and standardized test are DEFINITELY not my strong point. I've never seen a Monty Python film and I can't stand Alice in Wonderland. I despise haikus even though I am good at them and I've given up on crosswords years ago... but I love creating them for other people to do...hehe. I don't quote old english novels but I do love to do a little "Plain English" from the bible.
I realize that in my mind, I think of English Majors as the "book editor" while I think of myself (and people like me) as the writers. Once you look past the awful spelling, the wrong formats, and the everyday word usage, there's a story... a beautiful story.