Flutter Patterns

TM8561 Flutter Patterns 36x48 oil on panel

TM8561 Flutter Patterns 36×48 oil on panel

Each painting informs the next, so I bring you Flutter Patterns, another collaboration with Brian Eno. Flutter Patterns is based in part on photographs I took late last summer of leaves reflected in a quarry pond, fluttering in a breeze. It is also inspired and interpretive of a musical collaboration between Brian Eno and Harold Budd titled “Ambient 2 Plateaux of Mirror.” The music, composed for piano, has an ethereal fluttery sound, repetitive but always changing.  With fluttering leaves it is a perfect fit. The music has a bit more drama than “Neroli”, a related composition by Brian Eno alone, so I brought in more contrast and color. Details from the painting are below, with technical painting notes at the end. Enjoy.

TM8561 Flutter Ptterns - detail from center of right edge showing light on the water's surface, leaf and stem reflections, floating duckweed

TM8561 Flutter Ptterns – detail from center of right edge showing light on the water’s surface, leaf and stem reflections, floating duckweed

TM8561 Flutter Ptterns - detail from right side with mirrored leaves and duckweed on the water's surface

TM8561 Flutter Ptterns – detail from right side with mirrored leaves and duckweed on the water’s surface

TM8561 Flutter Ptterns - detail from center showing interwoven positive and negative shapes,  use of spatter to mute tones and control space

TM8561 Flutter Ptterns – detail from center showing interwoven positive and negative shapes, use of spatter to mute tones and control space

TM8561 Flutter Ptterns - detail from center of bottom edge

TM8561 Flutter Ptterns – detail from center of bottom edge

TM8561 Flutter Patterns - detail from center with reflected leaves and stems

TM8561 Flutter Patterns – detail from center with reflected leaves and stems

Technical painting notes: The painting began with a reddish brown oil color rolled loosely onto the primed panel. While wet, the paint was smeared with a plastic bag, then spritzed with solvent and blotted or re-rolled. This base layer created some interesting textures and tones. I let it dry. Glazes followed, into which I started to paint the leaves. I tried to vary the edges – hard v. soft. Some of the stem patterns were developed, and I decided to emphasize the diagonals of the leaves and contrast them with the suggested grid of stems and branches.  The negative sky shapes poking through were developed after the leaves had dried. Successive layers of variously colored spatter came next, both to unify the composition and to suggest dappled light (the size of the dot of spatter can be controlled by the size of the brush and the viscosity of the paint being used – I add Liquin to the mixed color and a touch of mineral spirits, then choose from a selection of very used, nylon watercolor brushes – a bigger splotch can be achieved with a natural bristle chip brush).

Remembering the reflections in the quarry, I wanted to imply layers – leaves overhanging the water as well as those of the slightly higher canopy. But I wanted the movement to dominate, the feel of flutter and repetition, of things appearing and disappearing before my eyes, the sense of lost and found echoes, much like in the music of “Plateaux of Mirror”.

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