The idea of creating a painting using the "conceal and reveal" process was introduced in an on-line painting class I've been taking. I quickly became intrigued with the process. The idea is to build up multiple layers of collage - just recklessly gluing down interesting papers of any kind - photos, color, textures, and type. This mess gets a coat or two of white paint to conceal everything. Finally, when the paint is dry the fun begins.
I used an electric sander to seriously distress the surface. It was surprisingly hard to sand off very much white paint. Then I sprayed a little water in select areas and began to rub off some papers with my finger tips, revealing collage papers in lower areas. Cuts made into the surface with a case knife made it possible to peel off other bits and create straight lines.
Interesting patterns and colors began to reveal themselves in combinations that I would never have thought of or been able to create. Bits of type and pattern in different levels of the original collage combined to make unexpected designs. I like the tiny details the best.
In the final stages I made marks with my handmade smudge brush on the surface and glazed and glazed.
The question for me is this: Is this project just a distant memory, or a glimpse of future work? It might not be the whole future, but I plan to try this process again - several times.
"A Distant Memory" is part of the members' show at the Spanish Peaks Art Council (SPACe) Gallery in La Veta, Colorado.