Lorna Nakell at Portland Art Center

Portland Art Center presents:

The Family Dynamic
A family exhibition featuring large scale paintings by Portland Open Studios artist Lorna Nakell, sculptures by her husband Noah Nakell, oil paintings by Noah’s mother Susan Sumimoto, and photographs by his stepfather Chuck Nakell

Sept 6th – Sept 28th, 2007
Portland Art Center
32 NW 5th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209

Opening reception Sept 6th, 6 – 10pm

We asked Lorna to tell us a little bit about her working process, and this is what she says:

More Paint – More Water
by Lorna Nakell

Since starting in my new direction as an abstract painter about two years ago, I have gone from creating 22”x30” watercolor and mixed media paintings on paper to making these new 8’ x 12’ acrylic and mixed media paintings on canvas. The change of size and medium has been a challenge, but a rewarding one. Below is a description of my painting process:

My canvases are custom built. After they have been delivered to my studio, they are laid flat on the floor where they receive one coat of gesso and one coat of Golden’s absorbent ground. When they are fully dried, they are leaned upright against the wall where I begin to sketch out the design with pencil. Then charcoal stick is used to develop the lines and shapes creating the final under-drawing.

When the drawing is completed, canvases are laid back on the floor where they are dampened with water from a spray bottle. I then apply colored inks with a dropper and thinned acrylic paint in carefully placed splatters and drips. I alternate applying ink and paint careful to keep the surface constantly wet until the desired colors and blends are achieved. The wet canvases are then lifted carefully to allow the colors to run together in a slightly controlled fashion. Although some aspects of this background process are controlled, the paint tends to have a mind of its own, pooling together in unexpected ways. I never know exactly what it will look like until the entire surface has dried.

When the canvases have dried, they are leaned back against the wall where they are sealed with a fluid coat of acrylic medium to prevent the charcoal from rubbing off. After the medium has dried, the surfaces are ready for me to add painterly shapes and forms with acrylic paint, sparkly shapes with mica or glitter and other layers with tinted acrylic resin. Because my work is so process oriented, even though I might begin with a plan for each painting, I end up having to spontaneously work with the effects created by each step. This is exciting to me because it leads to surprising results. Only when all the colors and shapes seem to balance out and an overall mood is achieved do I consider a painting done. When finished, each painting receives a protective coat of varnish.

Lorna working in her studio

Above, Lorna working in her studio.

To find out more about the Portland Art Center, see http://www.portlandart.org/.

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