>Oils of Summer and Kabuki Dreams May 2010


Kabuki Dreams
in progress
Cathy Hegman
Kabuki Dreams
in progress
( detail to show transparency of oil washes)

The studio is simmering in the heat of summer and the pigments laced in oil and turpentine are cooking at a slow pace on boards and stretched canvases laying about the studio in various stages of finish. I have a weird habit of painting in oils in the summer, maybe it is because years ago I did some plein air painting during the spring and summer months, but no longer do I have the urge to continue that particular painting ritual, or maybe there is just something deep inside of me that will not relinquish the oil paint addiction. I just love to paint and I believe that the medium I use matters little to me, as the process for me is my motivation. Years of painting have melded all the procedures in my mind if not in my work. I work in all of the mediums in an effort to dig new rabbit holes to fall down and research. I tend to paint in a more painterly and less specific style. I believe my style harkens back to my first lessons in oil painting , which were in the impressionistic vein, which I loved at that time. I now tend to like to add a good bit of an edge to my work, which makes is more contemporary to me and my time. I like to use values to achieve this and to give me that bit of mystery in my work. I have of late been revisiting the realm of oil washes, which I find very comfortable since it has a bent toward layering much akin to the water media layering that I so love to paint. I find if I dive in with the washes first I can then progressively,thoughtfully,and slowly, add the layers of opacity leaving me with a rich, other worldly surface that often presents a utopia like satisfaction for me. I do not know how to describe the feeling of adding these layers when you have the aha moment other than you feel a strange and comforting satisfaction that makes you keep going back to the piece and trying to find the how and when the moment actually occurred. I feel a bit like I am out on a limb here; but, I will bet the artists reading this will be able to testify to this feeling. Layering is my comfort zone, perhaps because with layers there is the continual feeling of hope for the next successive layer to pull off the masterpiece or maybe it is the unknown desire to have the ability to keep going and not finish the piece and enjoy the process. I am not sure but in any event it is the mode of operation for me whether in oil, water color, acrylic, gouache and or charcoal. I just seem to desire to have the marks from previous layers to make the piece work. I heard an artist say that every portrait he did was just a series of strokes made to correct the previous bad strokes. I really like that theory and know exactly what he means. It is much like in life we learn from our mistakes and often the scars are more beautiful than the flawless innocence of youth. Time is important in art and life.
The figure remains my main forte at this juncture but now I am working more in the realm of achieving personality in the gesture and face of my figures. I am finding I can paint only the parts of the figure and or face that I want to emphasize and leave the others either off of not detailed at all and the figure still serves the purpose I intended. I strive to say more with less and to give only a connotation of what the figure is about or what my statement will be for the piece. I am always thinking of life and the situations we all deal with and the inevitability of time and the reactions we have to the mundane as well as the tragic in our life spans.
We are not promised an easy life but the way we roll with the punches in our life and the way we nurture others will be the story we leave in our wake. I have often wondered how it would be if there were no tragedies, failures, disappointments and fears in life, my conclusion is that life would be rather dull and uneventful and would not press us to deeper thoughts of why we are here and what this life is all about.
I am working on Kabuki Dreams in the studio now. The history and meaning of Kabuki are rather interesting, if you are so inclined here is a link that briefly gives the meaning: http://japanese.about.com/library/blhiraculture6.htm
I began the painting on canvas covered board. I started the painting process with oil washes of indigo, alizarin, and mars black for the lay in stage. I drew with my brush. I use a liner brush for this step as it gives me a bit of control but not too much. My pigments are very runny and loose at this point to allow for the transparency in places. In the subsequent layers I have added the more opaque pigments such as a bit of cadmium red deep,yellow ochre, raw sienna and white. The addition of opaque pigments on top of the washes gives me the ability to scratch and lift the opaque layer to show bits and pieces of the underlying wash layer, giving the bit of complication that I strive for in my work. I think it is like seeing a glimpse of something, it intrigues the viewer to look deeper. It is amazing how much mileage you can achieve with very few pigments. The whole piece is about hope and regeneration of life, the symbols are common in many of my paintings. The egg and the pearls of wisdom. The figure itself is one out of my imagination, I leave off the details mostly to simply the figure. I have added some shapes that give the look of deep contemplation to the face and the eyes are in shadow to prevent any contact with the viewer, I like this feeling of connectivity without preconception of what the figure maybe trying to say to the viewer.
The face of the Kabuki dancers are covered in rice flour and paint to cover their true identity and I found that to be an interesting take for this piece. Identity is the pivotal point of this painting and of most of my paintings that strive to let the viewer enter into the piece and become personally involved. I have left the door open for someone to place themselves in the figure and to feel the empowering emotion of holding that fragile symbolic egg in their hands that could bring hope or could bring destruction and devastation. The pearls of wisdom I employ as symbolism in my work often is there to remind me that no matter how lost I feel the answers are always close by me. I will add more and more layers to the piece or maybe not, I get up each morning and reassess the progress or damage and make my move. I added some layers of pattern in the background this morning…will post later or I may paint them out!
Thank you for reading and I hope you will have a great month!

Cathy Hegman

All artwork and text included in this blog is copyright protected by Cathy Hegman and should not be reproduced in any form or fashion or used without the written permission of Cathy Hegman. All text and artwork included in this blog are solely the thoughts and original art of the artist, Cathy Hegman, unless otherwise noted, and are meant only to be guidelines and thoughts for others to read.my blog.

About Cathy S. Hegman

Art, much like a road links people together both visually and mentally. One can attain a glimpse inside the artist’s soul by studying the artist’s work, and perhaps find something that links them to the artist and the art. A work of art has the ability to resonate and touch the emotions without regard to age, gender, race, or religion through the application of pigment to canvas or paper. Art can be the voice that cries out without limits, or sometimes whispers the thoughts of the creator. Art speaks silently, yet conjures up feelings and gives satisfaction that is undeniable, and yet intrinsic. It validates our need to learn about ourselves, and gives us freedom to search for our own identities. The road is long and often dusty, but always renewing the spirit with inspiration. It is my hope in this lifetime to give a part of what I have learned through and on my journey with others. The deepest form of us is revealed in our thoughts and my art is the translation of my thoughts to paper and canvas. I paint layers of color and line to create a history of marks that will guide the viewer into my world of thought and engage them in the process. I embed personal symbols throughout my art to give it deeper meaning. I encourage you to think about life in a visual way and to contemplate our connections with each other and the world we share.
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11 Responses to >Oils of Summer and Kabuki Dreams May 2010

  1. Dayna Talbot says:

    >Cathy….I don't know how I stumbled on your blog, but you write so eloquently….and I love the looseness of your work!

  2. Cathy Hegman says:

    >Hello Dayna and thank you very much! I am glad you enjoyed the blog and the painting so far. You do a great job yourself on your blog. I love your work, you and I both seem to like texture in our work. Kindred spirits for sure!

  3. DJ says:

    >Just found your blog via Studio Orange. Your paintings are gorgeous and you obviously can verbalize your process.Your Kabuki actor is beautifully done.

  4. Zappha says:

    >I to just stumbled upon this blog by my good fortune. Your work is truly inspirational. Thank you. I will return often.

  5. Cathy Hegman says:

    >Thank you very much Zappha! I hope you will return and read again!

  6. Stan Kurth says:

    >Cathy, First let me say, I'm honored that you stopped by my blog. I was mesmerized by an image on a postcard I received from NWS last year and your name resonates along with it. I'm so amazed that all the artists that I admire are so willing to share and I suppose that is inherent in what we do; your blog is a treasure. Kabuki Dreams is par excellent. There is much to read and ponder here and I'll be around for sure. Right now I have to prepare to hang 13 paintings in a popular digning establishment and noted gallery tomorrow evening. I found out this afternoon. So I'm doing the usual signing of limitations of liability, making tags, updating bio info and matting and framing a couple.

  7. Cathy Hegman says:

    >Thank you Stan! I appreciate your kind words about my work. I know the painting you are referring to and it is one of my favorites. I wish you much success with the gallery, you are preparing for, that is just awesome that you get to put 13 pieces in! I am so glad you like my work! I absolutely am amazed by yours. I cannot get Landfill #7 off my mind. That is a very beautiful and equally provocative piece. The best kind! Thank you again and I am also following your blog! Wishing you the best!

  8. >Hi Cathy! So good to have discovered your works . You DO have exelent paintings here .

  9. annell says:

    >Cathy I enjoyed seeing your work and reading what you are thinking about. I will look forward to seeing more. I respond to the colors you are using. In fact I am going now to the art supply to get paint. I need yellow!

  10. Liv Sørvaag says:

    >Hello Cathy !What an amazing blog and so beutiful and interesting pictures!Best from Liv 🙂

  11. Liv Sørvaag says:

    >Hello Cathy !What an amazing blog and so beutiful and interesting pictures!Best from Liv 🙂

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