Gentle Grip on Glossy Glass

March 17, 2021

This piece was submitted by Caitlin Ham (’24).

In regards to her work, she writes, “Gentle Grip On Glossy Glass is an acrylic painting on canvas medium that depicts a hand grazing over a glass of water. The overall mood is very light-hearted, this piece has an almost ethereal atmosphere. This work is very delicate and graceful, yet extremely contrasting and full with value. The lines, for the most part, are natural shaped, curved, and free-flowing, but they vary in opacity, thickness, and style. The illusions of the forms are complex and volumetric, from other elements like lines, shapes, and value, the perspective of third-dimensional figures is formed. The shapes are organic, curvaceous, and (mostly) circular. The values demonstrate a full scale of white, black, and neutral brown, it is dramatic in certain areas, yet subtle and subdued in others. The texture differs, the hand looks rough and wrinkled, the glass of water looks smooth, the rings look shiny, and the table looks grainy. The focus of the work is vertical centered, the negative space is concentrated as the dark background and shadow, while the positive space is concentrated as the highlights of the water, rings, and hard edge lines. The colors were very muted and were either neutral or slightly warm at most. Emphasis was added through hard-edged details with contrasting values. Balance of focus was shown on two halves of the piece, top and bottom, having a hand of lighter values on a dark background and a glass/shadow of darker values on a white background. The movement was dynamic, though gentle, it showed rippling, swirling, and flowing from sensory brush strokes. The contrast used was dramatic, attaching more character to the piece. Multiple techniques were used, underpainting to create a guideline, layering to build opacity, texture, value, and detail, gradient blending/scumbling/glazing/dabbing to apply pigment and delicately blend, and directional strokes to add texture. I really wanted my work to be cleanly conveyed through layers built with emotion. I liked referring to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, his layers conveyed his style and his own philosophy. Another painting I liked referring to was Gerhard Richter’s October 18, 1977 Painting, It used a photo reference similar to our project and had very soft blending and sensuous grey-scale. Through this project, I learned about the basics of painting, I learned the importance and how to apply the elements and principles through different techniques, media, mediums, and tools. My expressive intent is to convey the message of simple things can be complex, there is beauty in plain everyday items.”

(Photo Credit: Caitlin Ham/Achona Online)
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