Patterning with layers

I have always loved working in layers of paint, it is quite possibly spurned on by my love of the process of painting holding a much higher place than my love of the finish. The subliminal changes that occur in this process are very much akin to life and growth. The layers add and delete and in the process obscure and reveal the painting as they build.

I have had so many artists that I admire that are amazing at the use of collage, their knowledge of placing patterns and shapes into a coherent painting is amazing. . I have always wished I could acquire that skill, but I have never quite been able to get my mind around that process of layering with patterned papers and every time I have tried I always end up painting over the whole collage and simplifying it completely. I achieve good texture but not the patterns I am wanting to get. I mistakenly assumed collage would be the same as layering the paint but it has never been that way for me. I just completely become overwhelmed at possibilities when I deal with patterned papers. I immediately feel the same way I do when I enter a clothing store with everything as separates and it is up to the customer to find what looks best with what, it is overwhelming for me.

I do think pattern adds a dimension to art that not only decorates the immediate surface but also can work to compress the painting by melding the foreground, middle ground and background into one. I lean on values in my work as an artist; but have for many years also loved the flatness of many modern artists’ work. I decided to try to mix the patterns as layers of paint. This is my interpretation of how to blend values and flatness and achieve my long sought after happy medium of them. I have found this pattern layering also works to further obscure the edges in my work and thereby creates a vibration or motion in my paintings, which I find nice. This patterning throughout gives my edges a slight movement that suggests the painting is symbolically breathing and not a still or dead surface.

Here are a few examples of details of my work using this technique to help you understand the intent of this post.

details from Ornithologist Nest by Cathy Hegman 50×50 acrylic on canvas
Details of 5, 6 35x 55 oil by Cathy Hegman

I hope everyone remains safe and healthy. My blog is solely my admission of my struggles in life through my art. I believe life is our greatest teacher and it is no different with art, we learn through our mistakes and discoveries. I try to remember to take time to share with others when I happen upon something that I think might be of help to another artist.

Art has always been for me, a great big Wiki of painting knowledge shared by artists of the past and present through videos, blogs and books. We live in a great age of knowledge.

Take care,

Cathy Hegman

All artwork and writing in this blog is solely the property of Cathy S. Hegman. Please do not reproduce, copy, or use in any form without the permission of Cathy S Hegman. I am generous so just ask me.


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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