Painting of the Month Club – September

Between the Lines by Paula Martiesian

 

Dreamlike, psychotropic, phantasmic – these are words critics have used to describe some of my paintings. The words are a mystery to me, as I’ve never set out to make anything decidedly otherworldly.

Stepping back to take a more objective look, even I could see the paintings looked softer, blurrier, and more suggestive than I imagined. In fact, they looked quite dreamlike. How did this happen?

It was an innocent progression. Frustrated by the limitations of brushes and palette knives, I had started to use rags and paper towels to rub color into the pores of the linen canvas. When you deal in subtle color shifts s as I do, it’s all about creating depth anyway you can. If I rubbed a darker color into the linen and then a lighter color on top of that, I could create a suggestion of depth.

First I cut up stacks of old clothes and sheets to use as rags, but I went through my supply pretty quickly. Then I settled on paper towels, specifically the cheaper Stop & Shop brand that seem to have no weird chemical additives.   I couldn’t use virgin paper towels. I am, after all a native New Englander, an honorary Yankee. I started mining used paper towels. Blotting lettuce? Save that paper towel. Cleaning the mirror? Save that towel. Even my husband now sets aside paper towels for me, all cut up in neat little squares.

These innocent looking little pieces of paper towels have changed the look of my paintings, softening the edges and blurring distinct lines. Now how I experience the world without my glasses is how people see my paintings.

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