Body of Work

Common Threads

Artists are by nature experimenters, some more than others. I think I fall into the middle to high end of that continuum. I can be pretty happy creating work in a particular medium for a while as I push its limits. (Actually, it’s probably my own limits I’m pushing.) Then it’s time to shake loose a bit.

I’ve noticed this pattern for a while. For example, I’ve worked with acrylics and mixed media since early 2016 after a couple years using watercolor, collage and stamping. The need to create larger work led me there. But I recently fell prey to the lure of three-dimensional work, and have taken a break from canvases to see where that leads me. (I’ll be back to canvases soon!) I haven’t abandoned one type of work for another, but simply enriched the journey with new tools, a bigger vocabulary, and the challenge of learning new skills.

Now in reflection, I look for threads that connect the seemingly disparate types of work. Below are some examples of shared processes, images, or obsessions that link the body of work.

Here’s a detail from a watercolor/mixed media piece (left) called Woman at the Window (2015) next to a detail (right) from Covered/Uncovered (2017), an acrylic painting. Two years separate the works, but the same passion for texture and pattern appears in both. Spirals and splatters? I can’t help it!

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Weathered, corroded surfaces attract me. The first image below (left) is a detail from Mesa Whirlwinds (2016), an acrylic/mixed media painting. I paired it with Half Memories (2017), a found objects assemblage I just finished in July. Although starkly different at first glance, they share my attempts at making surfaces compelling and complex.

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Comfort and Joy (2015), a watercolor/mixed media piece (left), couldn’t be more different from Dove in Mourning (2017), acrylics/mixed media (center), and Half Memories (2017). Oh, not so fast. What about the splatters in the first two? And do you see the dot pattern in all three?

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I could go back even farther, to my banners and wall hangings of the ‘70s, and my cut paper illustrations of the ‘80s. It’s a bit of a relief to see the common threads. The challenge is to avoid using them as defaults, to stay original, and to keep exploring!

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About the Painting

Looking Westward

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The visual effects of corrosion fascinate me. The textures of rusty metal, peeling paint and weathered wood are delicious to my eyes. I’ve tried to bring this concept into a number of my paintings, experimenting with different ways to achieve it. (You can see it in Crosswise, for example.)

With Looking Westward, the dominant colors of rust red and turquoise emit a southwestern vibe. I keep the palette limited and the composition simple. To create the random tactile quality of the surface, I use a putty knife and plastic food wrap, two items I keep handy in my studio. A layer of red oxide goes on over the texture first, followed by a complete covering of lightened turquoise.

When the turquoise layer is dry to the touch, I use blue painter’s tape to mask off the areas I want to remain untouched in the next step. I’m about to do some damage here, but remember what I said about corrosion? The exposed areas get a wet sandpaper treatment, leaving a wonderful random pattern that is influenced by the texture. When I remove the tape, I’m pleased to see that the ridges and bumps keep the edges rough and imperfect, achieving a natural, worn effect. To unify the overall painting and to bump up the surface interest, I fling splatters of pale turquoise and dark brown paint on the canvas and call it done.

Looking Westward evokes the feeling in me of looking through what is near toward what is far away. I hope you enjoy looking at it too.

This painting is 12”x12” acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas. If you need help visualizing how it might look in your home or office, you can see it in context here. Contact me if you’d like to give it or any of my other paintings a good home.

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All art is copyrighted and may not be reproduced without express written permission. Copyright 2016 Laura Hunt
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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

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About the Painting

Birds on a Wet Lawn

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Birds on a Wet Lawn is first in a series of large paintings featuring birds on a high horizon line. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve included an objective element in an otherwise non-objective piece. I’ve explored the subject of birds in the past, and you can probably count on a re-appearance from time to time.

There are so many reasons to include birds in a painting—their beauty, their freedom in flight, their uninhibited motion, their oneness with the environment. In this case though, I believe I was expressing a memory.

I’m careful to keep my lawn organic, not wanting chemicals endangering the pets and people who enjoy my yard, or to drain into our soil and water. So one of the organic products used to keep the grass healthy is molasses. Yes, molasses, in a pellet form. When this aromatic product is applied to the lawn, there’s a delightful gathering of neighborhood birds of all kinds, enjoying a fragrant feast. It’s a small memory, but a pleasant one, that is captured here.

Now for my process. As usual, I applied the texture first, with mostly random horizontal grooves, with some concentric arcs interspersed throughout the lower three-quarters of the design. The paint follows the texture in places, but in others, it skips across like a stone across the water. You’ll see the effect when you examine closely.

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The birds themselves were originally created from stamps that I carve out of rubber. For this painting, I took that technique a step farther by stamping the images, scanning them into my computer, printing them out, then using an image transfer method to apply them to the canvas.

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Green shades and tints are predominant, enhanced with deep blues, turquoise, and some yellow and white. The upper portion has a hazy effect, with white raining down over the birds. The entire painting is finished with red, orange, and blue splatters.

Birds on a Wet Lawn is 40” x 40” on deep gallery-wrapped canvas, wired and ready to hang. You can see it in context here, along with the two other paintings currently in the series. I’ll write about them in future posts.

Contact me if you’re interested in owning this or any of my other paintings. I can also make museum quality prints of Birds on a Wet Lawn available at a lower cost, and in several sizes smaller than the original.

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


 

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About the Painting

Moon Over Canyon

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Canyons are imposing, mysterious, sometimes intimidating spaces that leave me in awe of the power and wonder of nature. Moon Over Canyon is my attempt to express the experience of being deep in the gorge, looking up to see a silvery blue full moon.

I expressed the tactile character of the canyon wall by playing with a variety of textures– smooth against rough, vertical and crisscross against horizontal and curved, strands of twine near raised circles. The red, orange, ocher, and rust hues of the ravine sing next to a hazy orb of a moon hanging in an arc of midnight sky. I finish off the painting with animating splatters, bringing to mind the life that pulses deep in the canyon.

Moon Over Canyon is 48” x 30” on gallery-wrapped canvas. You can see it in a contextual photo here. Check out the FAQ page to learn how you may purchase this or any of my paintings.

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 2016 Laura Hunt

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About the Painting

Hey, what time is it?

This post will focus on a series of small paintings I call the Time of Day. Small and intimate, these four paintings are my expression of the range of atmosphere and emotion I have felt as the day moves through its various moods.

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Midnight: dark and mysterious with the Milky Way reigning over the night sky, evoking a sense of wonder.

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Morning: full of hope, dewy, lush and green, pale sunshine casting an optimistic glow as I rise, sip a cup of coffee, and start my day.

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Midday: hot summer sun climbing into the sky, swirling solar storms washing out the barely blue dome, sending me to the fridge for something cool.

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Sundown: Riotous colors over a serene landscape, memories of the grassy rolling plains of Central Texas and an end to my chores for the day before heading inside for supper and homework.

Each painting was created using acrylic paint on a 12” x 12” standard canvas, and is wired ready to hang. They can be arranged as shown in context here, in a square configuration, but other arrangements are equally effective. You decide! Learn how to purchase this series or any painting of your choice on the FAQ page.

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 2016 Laura Hunt

 

 

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About the Painting

Ocean wetness

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Ocean colors dominate Deep Water, with deep blues, sky blues, aquas and turquoises, blended with watery greens that all cooperate to immerse the viewer into the ebb and flow. Strips of topographical ocean maps collaged into the painting reinforce the wetness with their torn edges and shades of aqua.

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I created a highly textured section at the bottom that brings to mind the mystery of the ocean floor. The top section recalls the docks and piers made by human hands. If you look closely, you will see wave shapes I stamped into the design on handmade paper for a whimsical note. I think of them as a treat for those who take the time to dive into the experience of this painting. Final splatters of red, white, pale blue, and almost black blues offer the vitality that creatures contribute to the life of the sea.

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In planning a painting with water as the subject matter, I wanted to get beyond literal repetition of wave shapes. Each flowing form is different from the next, creating an overall impression of pattern, but with the constant change of  pattern elements. All this was developed over an underlying structure of textural marks that I find a necessary element in my work.

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We human beings seek out bodies of water. Rivers, lakes, ponds, oceans, even puddles, are places where we renew out souls. This tall, narrow painting creates the opportunity to dive deep into peace, cleansing, and regeneration. It’s well-suited to inhabit a narrow vertical space in your home or office, and to remind you of your favorite ocean dreams and seaside memories.

Deep Water is an acrylics/mixed media painting, 20” x 60” on gallery-wrapped canvas. See it in context here, and learn about the purchase process on the FAQ page.

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 permission. Copyright 2016 Laura Hunt

 

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About the Painting

Revealing my Crosswise process

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A passion for texture is a major motivator for my work. Laying down texture is my go-to first step. That’s where I consider the composition of the piece, playing with the depth, the character, and tactile qualities that will guide what happens next. I’ve created a number of paintings using layered stripes, sometimes horizontally, sometimes vertically, to produce exciting clashes abutting and layered on top of each other.

In Crosswise, I laid down my texture—well—crosswise, parallel with the shorter side of the canvas. While painting the stripes in the same direction might have been pretty, I wanted a tension at play. So instead, I painted the layers of stripes vertically, in direct opposition to the underlying texture. The result is a rich vibration that you can see in the detail photos here as the brush skips over the ridges.

16379-crosswise-detail-4-loThe painting progresses from the cool greens and blues of fields and streams at the bottom to the warm reds, oranges, and yellows of sunshine and flames at the top. Gold gem-like dots punctuate the painting’s verticality and provide a surprise to be found by the viewer.

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But nothing is perfect! Nature causes decay and corrosion on objects, which this painting expresses with the worn-away passage at the top. Random splatters top off the painting with spontaneous exuberance, a contrast to the relative discipline of the underlying structure.

Crosswise is painted on standard gallery-wrapped 22 x 28 canvas, and is ready to hang. See the painting in context here.

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 permission. Copyright 2016 Laura Hunt

 

 

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About the Painting

Harmony and conflict, high and low

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Mesa Whirlwinds is another in a group of paintings based on the compositional structure of a high horizon line, as if viewed from a low place. There are four textured swirls, with the top two intersected by the horizon line, that speak to the harmony—or conflict—of the high and the low. Whirlwinds are both earth and sky, as dust and dirt are blown about, blurring the distinction and causing me to catch my breath.

Weather and the elements have taken their toll, wearing away the surfaces to reveal the past represented by the pentimento (images, strokes, or forms that have been painted over) present both above and below the horizon. (By the way, “pentimento” is one of my very favorite arty words!) Turquoise and earth-tinged colors are evocative of tribal lands, with jeweled “buttons” providing surprise anchors that, somehow, keep everything from blowing away. Random paint splatters provide animation to an otherwise very stable, peaceful image.

Mesa Whirlwinds is a 20” x 20” mixed media painting on gallery-wrapped canvas. Visit Gallery: Middle Works to see Mesa Whirlwinds as it might look in a home or office. (Scroll down a bit.) See my FAQs page to learn about the easy purchasing process.

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 permission. Copyright 2016 Laura Hunt
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