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Burnt Sky

MAY 18, 2010
I was very happy to be invited to participate in the upcoming "Earth: Fragile Planet" show at the Society of illustrators. Doing pieces for shows like this gives me a chance to do illustrative work that is free from restrictions beyond the solution of the problem. The show is broken into five parts, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Wildlife. I chose air.

My thought was to deal with not only the global warming issue but the aestetic outrage that our consumption of fossil fuels has committed on the atmosphere. After extensive thought, I formed a plan...try and make a painting of the sky, make it as aestetically pleasing and epic as I could, and then burn a swath across it- a not-so-subtle metaphor for the destruction of the beauty of the sky.
I started by painting the sky, 24x36. I painted on a re-primed canvas that already had an old painting on it, with the thought that it would be a little more fire-resistant.
I also painted a little  "mini" version to use as a test. (I did this painting at my class as a demo- killing two birds with one stone)
Once I finished the paintings, I burned the test piece, using a blowtorch...
Haven't you always wanted to do this?
From the test I learned that I could burn through the canvas easily but the best effects happened just before the holes formed. When I burned the main painting I had a harder time getting the paint to blister and peel without going all the way through, and wound up with a few holes...which required me to have to back-line the canvas.
It's very tricky to get this surface to cook just right without putting holes in the surface.
the finished piece
In the end, Im really not as satisfied with this painting as I thought I'd be. Looking back at the in-progress shots I took, I think I may have overworked the finished piece....I still have a few days before I HAVE to send it- I may try to do it over one more time. I want it to be good. In fact, the whole idea is that it has to be something that I really love- it has to look really good for it to be a meaningful sacrifice. Arg. Writing this is making me suspect that I may not be done.
Stay tuned.