About the Painting

A tall challenge

I am fortunate to be part of a group of gifted artists that meets monthly to support, encourage, and challenge one another. We’ve structured the “challenge” part of our activities this way: each month a different group member throws out a prompt that everyone responds to during that month. The challenge prompt is usually a word or a phrase, like “flowers” or “water” or “self-portrait.” Once it was a photo of broken shingles. Betsy’s roof was being replaced as the result of a particularly impressive hailstorm that had moved through the North Texas region. You can see how this monthly exercise might stretch one’s imagination a bit.

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Tall Tale was my response to the challenge prompt, “a story told,” dreamed up and tossed out there by Heidi. Since I focus on creating abstract and non-objective work, this might not seem like a fit. Oh, that’s right. That’s why it’s called a “challenge!”

My thinking process went something like this: Story. A story is a tale. Tales are often embellished and exaggerated. Tall. I reach for a tall canvas. (This one’s 12” x 36”.) Next come sketches where I play with symbols and patterns to weave a narrative. Settling on a water/desert/heat theme, I can just hear those haunting Native American flutes in the background.

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I render the patterns and symbols first. I want a progression, a story arc, so to speak, so my paint goes from the cool blues of water at the bottom, through the parched tans and ochres of the desert, up to the heat of the gold and copper sun. Splatters of orange red and blue energize the scene. Are they raindrops? Locusts? Birds? Arrows? You fill in the details, because that’s the viewer’s role and privilege.

Tall Tale is 12” x 36” mixed media on gallery-wrapped canvas. See it in a contextual photo on the Mid-Sized Paintings page. Contact me if you’d like to give it or any of my other paintings a good home.

Join me on Facebook and Instagram for behind-the-scenes peeks and first postings of new work.

All art is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without express written permission. Copyright 2017 Laura Hunt
About the Painting

Dove in Mourning

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Second in a series of paintings featuring birds, Dove in Mourning includes a silhouette of, yes, a mourning dove, a bird common to Texas. If I pay attention, I can hear their sweet cooing all day long, but they are especially vocal in the morning. They seem to love the tall bur oak trees next to my house, and sometimes set up residence in the rose arbor sheltering my front gate.

The title of this canvas came when a friend said it looked like the bird was shedding happy tears. True, mourning is not a joyful process, but the tears are a necessary part of grieving, and a step in the journey toward healing and joy.

As with most of my paintings, texture is my starting point. Here I chose to develop tension between the direction of the texture and the direction of the paint. The texture has a horizontal thrust, but as I applied color, the paint took a mostly vertical character. I like how it skips over the grooves, creating a vibrant, unrehearsed surface.

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This painting, like others in the series, has a high horizon line with the bird placed comfortably on that line. Above the horizon, textures disappear, smooth out, and give some respite from the thicket below. Red orange streaks and dots move the eye around the canvas and provide warmth against the cool grays. Splatters in red orange, white, and Payne’s gray animate the surface.

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Dove in Mourning was created using acrylic paint and image transfer on a 40” x 40” deep gallery-wrapped canvas. You can see it in context here, along with the two other paintings in the series thus far.

Contact me if you’re interested in making this or any of my paintings your own. I can also produce museum-quality gicleé prints, available at a lower cost than the original. Prints are available in sizes 36” x 36”, 30” x 30”, and 24” x 24”.

Join me on Facebook and Instagram for behind-the-scenes peeks and first postings of new work.

All art is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without express written permission. Copyright 2017 Laura Hunt