North Star

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September 10, 2014 by smithartonline

North Star Mixed media on prepared muslin 22 X 13 inches

North Star
Mixed media on prepared muslin
22 X 13 inches

I continue to experiment using unbleached muslin as the supporting surface for my painting. In this case, I applied gesso to the inner area where the painted image is, and the surrounding area is left untouched.

In a previous entry I mention the influence of First Nation art painted on muslin and in ledger books ( I refer you to the work of Dolores Purdy and Michael Horse, First Nation contemporary artists). An additional influence is also found in Tibetan thanka paintings. The Tibetans use a prepared surface on cotton for their base, allowing the paint to sit on the surface rather than sink into the fibers. A finer edge is possible when the muslin is prepared with gesso. With this said, there is something beautiful in the softer edge of paintings applied directly to the unprimed muslin…just the artist’s choice.

When I completed the painting I coated it with Winsor and Newton gloss varnish, which significantly brightened the intensity of the color. (The product information tells me that the varnish can be removed, but I think I will avoid doing this myself – it looks like a major undertaking to me).

Once again I used a traditional system of hanging the work from a single wooden support at the top, letting the painting hang free. Ultimately the work will need to be protected under glass. Tibetan works in the collections of both Norton Simon Museum and USC Pacific Asia Museum are framed and under glass. I am flummoxed as to how to keep the bottom of the picture from creeping up or moving about with time, but both museums have figured it out.

I think a trip to the USC Pacific Asia Museum is in my near future.

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