Anders on Painting an Anders

What are some of the processes you use?
Using the laws of nature to create texture, and water to dilute and move pigment, removes my hand and head from the process. If I feel a need for movement or elements in an area I will make it happen using techniques that manifest themselves separate from my will. I become an observer. I am the audience, and I have the best seat in the house.

Detail from Rising Oceans, part of the Cosmic Migration.

What role does your sealing  coats play.
Freedom. The ability to go back layer by layer. There can be no mistakes. I can wipe the surface clean without harming the painting. At a certain point while painting I will have so much new color, usually washes, that any additional paint would not wipe away cleanly.  Now is the time to seal the surface in preparation for more layers. After the boards are dry, I seal on average ten paintings at one time, and before I sand the sealer so new paint will adhere to the surface- I take photos of the paintings- this preserves the layers, or laminations, as the painting grows. This gives me an animated sequence of a developing painting.

How important are your compositions?
Composition rules the day.  It is a conscious effort- especially as the balancing act becomes more complex, the painting becomes less of an image and more of a pathway, less of a photo and more of a short story. Here the subconscious again is given fresh air for invention. Composition allows musical grace notes to enter the work. Composition creates pathways, primary and secondary, and multiple directions.

Detail from Man Looking at this Horse Thing.

What about the surface?
It has always been my goal to offer viewers points of interest no matter where they look or how closely they approach the surface. My work is not thin- there is a sense of mass that transcends imagery- it is something because it has mass and detail and relationships to other elements in the painting. It is all about surface.

How about line?
This is where baseball uniform design had a profound influence. Outlining of shapes has always been part of my work. Line is conscious effort. but, as one works the line the line no longer is conscious effort, it is a meditation. A sense of meaning comes to the line and each line is now a character or element. I go back over lines and as I reinforce the lines they become more and they react to the compositional forces and the interplay of color separated by the lines.

Detail of Romancing from the Relationships series.

How about color?
My color is the product of washes. A camera person filming me was struck by how deep and rich my color is but how little paint I use in the applications. Color becomes elemental forces in my work. In the color there is drama and emotion. It is here that I can delve into the subconscious but end up with paintings that the viewer, those who are aware of the landscape I live in, associates with the land.  Washes avoid ego commitment-  I know my colors will evolve. If I put down red it doesn’t mean that that color will be perceived as red after twenty thin washes over its top- now it can become any color. The red never disappears but perception will determine how the viewer describes the color they are seeing. Nothing disappears with a wash- things become deeper, denser and related and talking without the image.

What is common in your work?
Everything is related because this is one long continuous process, each painting is part of a family that is part of a series that is part of a set. all paintings are important to me. I do paint for a viewer.  I am that viewer. I must be entertained. I must believe in the surface. I must feel. But I must paint, I must move on, I must explore. Working on a board, and realizing it is one of 3,000 boards allows the subconscious movement beyond the conscious ego.  I see a painting in its my primer coat, the compositional bones are there. I do not have to say i’m painting a landscape, still life, portrait or abstract. I only need to start applying paint. and I need to look. and I need to paint. I have faith the painting will be finished.  When it is finished or where it is finished doesn’t matter.

Detail of Fire Rocks from the Earth Spirits series.

Does the films you make influence your paintings?
I was editing My Face Was My Crime as I was finishing the Lava Dogs and Dancers.I was finishing Deep, Deeper, Chiloquin, Recycles and the Cosmic Migration as I worked on water related films.  The films influence my use of color. The films are my conscious at work. I believe my paintings are a subconscious reaction to what I am editing or shooting. It gives me another level to process the incoming barrage of data and emotion. it gives me an escape. on the other hand i do not separate my painting from the film world. they are all frames in an animated journey as my life passes through times and scenes. The Lava Dogs and Dancers are characters in the film Elemental. They will dance, cry, and think. They will have motion and voices. They are cartoon characters. There is always the chance if you don’t like my painting you may like the film that the paintings are used in. This is my life, I try to do as much as i can with as little as I can. It is all about light not the camera. It is all about story not the theater.
It is all about emotion not the effects.

©2010 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved

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