Parallel Universe #1

TM8305 Parallel Universe #1 30x36 oil on panel

TM8305 Parallel Universe #1 30×36 oil on panel

There is a universe everywhere I look, and the deeper I look, the more they all seem to overlap. With that in mind, I present Parallel Universe #1, a painting that collides and overlaps the cosmos with a close-up of turbulent water. Patterns of droplets/patterns of stars, clouds of abstract gas, vapor, and dust – all controlled by gravity and other unseen forces.  Why the split? The story is in the technical painting notes below. Enjoy!

Technical painting notes – The painting began in my usual way – dark transparent oil paint was rolled onto the panel with a soft gelatin roller. Mineral spirits were dripped onto the surface, then blotted away, and I used a soft rag to wipe away some lighter areas for the nebula. I then used a plastic bag and mineral spirits to again create textures on the panel. I used the roller (16″ wide) to roll over the these textures, hoping they would lift and roll down in an interesting pattern. Since the roller is only 16″ wide, I had a series of vertical lines, wide on the ends and with a narrow band up the middle. Well…not exactly what I had in mind, but then it was an interesting effect…so I kept the lines. The more I thought about the separate parts, the more they seemed to echo my readings about utilizing chance and transparency.

When the paint layer was dry, I glazed the left side, worked some color into the nebula, and added stars. I then decided to develop the right side as white water, providing stark contrast to the dark cosmos. I used a chip brush and white paint mixed with Liquin medium to create gestures suggestive of turbulent water. I let the panel dry, then taped the edges of the center strip (to protect work done on the sides). I brushed a blue glaze over the center, accentuated the painterly gestures that were already there, and added a spatter of stars.

With the tape removed, I continued to develop the constellations and star patterns on the left, then took a palette knife and more white paint and medium to really exaggerate the turbulence on the right. As I worked the knife, I followed it with a smooth wash brush to soften the edges. A spatter of white paint was added.

TM8305 Parallel Universe #1, detail of lower right corner

TM8305 Parallel Universe #1, detail of lower right corner

The final steps were connecting a few more drips to form partial constellations – nature is always becoming, never at rest, lastly I  added the fine violet and rose lines that help to define the center “strips.”

TM8305 Parallel Universe #1, detail of lower left, with mystery constellation

TM8305 Parallel Universe #1, detail of lower left, with mystery constellation

By the way, can you guess the name of the largest constellation? Or do you have a suggestion?

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