This morning, I am was working on part two of a post from September, featuring the new patina work of an ongoing piece, based on the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC).
I'm working outside, as it is 70° and sunny and this can be quite a toxic process.
The raw and the cooked.
In the first image from September, you saw the raw CUC's applied to the panel in a geometrical and somewhat haphazard way, based on the shape of the island of Cuba. Don't get hung up on that idea, as in the end, I wanted to hint at the island and not be too illustrative or direct in presentation. In this phase the piece is very raw.
Once the currency was applied, I started with a base layer of pigment and kept working up the layers of varying colors. While I was in New York, I allowed the piece sufficient time to oxidize, and began the process of removing color. At this point the piece is fairly cooked, the oils are set and this becomes akin to removing a crust, layer by layer.
Something left behind.
Try as you might, you can't totally erase the past. I love that something is left behind, in the process of removal. It's history, emotion, cadence and time trapped in particles and matter. This apples to all things in life, not just paint. Moving forward, it is important that you understand that this technique will NOT work with acrylic paint. The new Alkyd fine art paints may have this ability, but, in general, this technique is for oil paint only.
Get to it.
After many thin layers of color are built up, I allow the painting to oxidize for several weeks. When I decide it is time, I begin by pouring a thinner product over the entire painting. Gamsol or white mineral spirits are usually my go-to's. After letting it soak for a minute or so, I use 100 grit sandpaper to remove layers. I let the sand paper do the work, and barley push and rub. I choose very deliberate sections and work in a methodical manner. I then begin alternating from sandpaper, to cotton rags, wiping and blotting, until the desired transparency is achieved. I work in scale, and take sections at a time, allowing the thinner in other parts to loosen the paint. Careful attention to rotation and pattern gives me the best results.
Are you done yet?
Nope. Not even close. This is one of the many steps a Broken Banknote painting goes through. At this point, I will sit with the piece and re-sketch over lay elements form the currency that I want to render. In the end, I still need to maintain the ethos and brand of the BBN sereis, so it will always be a re-interpretation of paper money. How loose I get and details of the actual money used, will be based on a host of factors. History, current nation state, and social climate are a few of the indicators that I use to guide the final direction.