Anatomy of my painting – Flowing with Honey

Knee deep painting in creek

Allow me to introduce you to how one of my paintings come into being. Explore the anatomy of the layer in the painting. It is a process of distilling moments over time.

Honey Metaphore Two

Anatomy of seeing

While the outcome looks almost photographic and has a high degree of realism. My work is nothing like a photograph. A camera does not work like the eye and brain combined. A photograph is a fragment or instance of time. The camera records everything but at the same time looses the 3rd dimension. In contrast, the eye sees and focuses through the dimensional planes. The brain sees and un-sees things depending on the attention of the human who owns the eye. Thus the artist sees, notices, focuses and explores the field of view over time.

I paint in layers. Each painting has approximately 10 layers. This means I turn up on site 10 times. I allow the paint to dry between layers and use a combination of transparent glaze mediums and paints to allow the layers to interact with each other. I have a basic guiding principal – each layer needs to be vibrant, responsive and expressive in laying down paint. This keeps the painting full of nuance and rich to the eye.

Distilling time

This means a painting will take over ten weeks to complete. This is a small painting and the average time spent on each layer was 2 hours of intense painting. So over twenty hour of time is distilled in this work. A larger work will take up to 40 hours. Time also brings change of light, sometimes one thing is highlighted and at other time it is in shadow.

As a artist I am adding light and ignoring light sometimes ten weeks apart to build up form. No one photograph can do this. A lot of realism painting is studio painting from a photograph. Hyper-realism is a form of this where the painter transfers the photo in minute detail using graphic techniques to control exact location and detail of the photographic source. My paintings are born of time not a camera.

Distilling the environment

One of the benefits of spending this amount of time in one place is I become a part of the landscape. The birds and animals return and treat me as a part of the environment. While painting this work a Lyrebird would work the bank with his tractor feet looking for food. Standing in the creek was such a good idea on hot summer days when this work was started. It was not so great when the cold chilly waters came down from the mountains as in the depths of autumn.

When you own a Russell McKane painting you are standing in the creek with the artist and see with artists eyes. You can sit in your lounge room and enter the painting time and time again as if you were there.

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