The Zooplankton and protozoa paintings are interpretations from a photographs made by scientists using microscope cameras. Working from microscopic images, these small paintings are actually much larger than the life they examine. The backgrounds of the photographs can be natural or artificial (at least, to the zooplankton) and vary by the scientists’ choices for display of the specimen. The translucent nature of zooplankton and their habitat as a visual investigation is fascinating to me, as transparency confuses and intertwines the figure and ground. Visually the creature becomes the combination of its own physical attributes and that of the environment in which it is placed. The figure and the ground converge.
To begin each painting I apply transparent color
layers which combine to simulate the ground color of the scientist’s photo.
This is made evident by the build-up of different color paint drips and
splotches on the canvas sides. Then a mixture of painting and glazing
techniques create layers of translucence and opacity that combine to record the
features of the scientist’s background choice, the light/water/air distortions which
are typical of the photography, and the zooplankton physical features, all in
combination. The work is varnished in the end creating a painting of both contemporary
and classic techniques. These paintings are placed in floater frames that
are shallower than the canvas depth, so that the drip-covered sides are revealed as well.