betterArts Resident Guides Us Through One Painting's Process

by Jennifer Elizabeth Crone

Once upon a time on the Upper West Side of Manhattan I was walking to the train and found a 33x29 inch painting in a wood frame on the sidewalk, discarded with the trash. The painting, signed from 1961, was not much to look at, but a canvas is a canvas, so I took it home and it sat in my living room, butter side against the wall, for months. Until now.

The first thing I did was create this tree out of bits of the Robert Ludlum book The Matarese Circle, which I also found in the street in Manhattan. I ripped up pages and spent a few hours putting tiny pieces together to make the above tree and branches, affixed with gel medium.

 Next I painted over the text to make the tree "move" or appear more dimensional.

After painting the tree I added an aqua color I mixed with terpenoid to create drips.

Next I did yellow...
 And finally olive green.

 Then I began to work on the background, putting more space between the old painting and the tree with its drips.

I then created a ribbon curling down the tree and appearing from off canvas.

 And finally I added warmth and more dimension in the fog-like middle ground. That's the technical process, for the theory and intellectual bits, well I'll never tell.

"Street Art is Dead" oil and mixed media on found canvas, 33x29 in wood frame

Post originally published on Jennifer Elizabeth Crone's blog.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.