Friday, October 30, 2009

Civil War Small Works

Ridgeline, McPherson’s Farm, Gettysburg
Ink Jet Print, Earth, Gouache
5” X 15.5”

This image depicts the ridgeline on McPherson’s Farm looking south. Native soil taken from the area outlines the slight rise in the ground. It was along this rise that the Union forces first met the Confederate forces coming in from the West starting the battle of Gettysburg.

The photographs that I am working with are from my collection that I have taken during visits to Civil War battlefields. I photograph vistas from vantage points that best capture the monumental movements of both nature and armies. The images feature sweeping scenes of vast desolate open spaces that vanish into the distant horizon. The compositional elements are open fields, tree lines, fences and sky. Strong perspective lines draw the eye in, enhancing the feeling of vastness in the scene.
I create a panoramic image by standing in one place and panning the camera to capture the horizontal landscape. The images are stitched together using Photoshop software creating a wide horizontal field of view. I then print on watercolor paper using an ink jet printer.

After the images are mounted on a rigid surface, I work over them with various water-based media & the collected earth pigment. The over-painting process smears & smudges the underlying ink jet print. This creates an interaction between the paint and the print. When painted, the printed blacks & grays morph into soft blues & greens with unexpected halo-like effects around the edges. Colored gouache mixes with the ink, softening the hard edges of the printed image. The paint texture is translucent and allows the underlying forms and structure to show through.
View of Thomas’ Farm, Monocacy MD. Battlefield
Ink Jet Print, Earth, Gouache
5” X 13.5”
View looking West at the Thomas Farm in Monocacy, Maryland. On the fields depicted, the Union army held up a confederate advance long enough to save Washington D.C. Local native soil was used to depict the contour of the land.

In my painting I welcome elements of randomness, chance, and chaos. The media undergoes transformation on the picture surface itself. Paints are applied to the surface in a pure form and then mix and morph on the surface of the painting. For example I work a lot with iron powder which can be made to rust over time resulting in rich unexpected color details and texture. The addition of soil creates flat neutral blocks of earth tones that can obscure the underlying space or enhance the perspective.
Best Farm, Monocacy Battlefield
Ink Jet Print, Earth, Gouache
6.6” X 13”
View looking south to the Monocacy River from the Confederate line. Local earth is used to describe the landscape.

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