Category Archives: how

Negative Shapes

"Granite I" - Carraher 2020

Granite I
2020.  Acrylic on canvas, 14 x 11 in.

The work informs the work.  I started the “Granite” series this spring not long after concluding “Plague Faces”.  The crossover in technique is easy to see:

"Plague Faces No. 17" - Carraher 2020Plague Faces No. 17
2020.  Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 16 in.

I start by creating a complex surface (in both these examples largely with rollers), then use a single color to paint away everything that’s not the shape I’m foregrounding.  “Negative shape” painting, a common technique.  It can bring the work to a magical conclusion, but you have to have faith that it’s going to come together because in the meantime it doesn’t look like much.  I liked “No. 17” a lot, and found a way very soon to go there again in “Granite I”, a totally different subject.

Battles

"Embattled Boy" - Carraher 2020Embattled Boy
2020.  Acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8 in.

I’ve been away for a couple weeks.  Just got back in the studio briefly today, mostly just tidying up and trying to remember where I was at.

Not sure why I decided to post this image, painted earlier this year.  It’s on a textured canvas, and I used sponge, roller, and brush.  I worked pretty hard on it, actually.  Some paintings start to take on a personality for you early in the process, and even if you try to ignore it it keeps insisting.  Each layer could have obliterated its character, yet I found myself continually trying to bring it back forward.  And you have no idea if any of that character will be apparent to the viewer.  But you feel compelled to let it realize itself anyway.

Some people in my life are having a hard time right now.  A very hard time.  It’s necessary to fight for them, or to encourage them to fight for themselves and hope that they can.  A happy outcome is not at all certain.  I may have that hard a time myself someday and I hope then someone will fight for me, or that I will be able – and willing – to fight that hard for myself.

More Granite

Granite VIII - Carraher 2020
Granite VIII
July 2020.  Acrylic and ink on canvas, 11 x 14 in.

Still interested in the shape of the granite boulders, but not so much in their texture here. Where I’m really (always) heading is toward simultaneity.  The interpenetrability of the substance and the ether.

This started with a quick contour sketch up near Stirrup Tank in Joshua Tree National Park.  The umber and ochre are applied with a brayer for randomness.

I’m continuing to work with the same sketch, using different approaches.  More to come.