My newest two paintings employ bright gold paint--something I had never even considered using before. My doing so this month grew out of two separate, serendipitous factors. The most direct impetus was being invited to be part of an exhibition this upcoming December at the Fairbanks Arts Association's Bear Gallery called "Gold, The Northern Element." Invited artists must include actual gold paint somewhere in our paintings. (It need not be gold leaf or true, elemental gold; these paintings of mine use lustrous gold acrylics.)
Detail of Annunciation The second impetus is a little more complicated. Dorli and I spent three weeks in Italy this May, and for two of those weeks, we rented a villa in Tuscany with a couple of friends. From that villa, the four of us explored Tuscan hill towns and succeeded in tracking down every Piero della Francesca painting in Tuscany--a longtime dream of mine. We also saw, however, scores of other extraordinary late Medieval and early Renaissance paintings in churches and museums, many of which featured vast quantities of gold. I had already agreed to be in the invitational exhibition this December, so I was intrigued in part for that reason, but I have long loved religious paintings of that period, and especially those which feature depictions of the Annunciation--the angel Gabriel's announcement to the Virgin Mary that she has been chosen by God to conceive God's son. For some reason, I have always sought out Annunciations in museums, and on this trip we saw an especially wonderful one by Fra Angelico, in Cortona.
So...I came home from Italy inspired to make an Annunciation of my own, and to use gold, but of course I don't paint angels, or biblical figures. I paint light in the Northern forest, and I've used that light to make commissioned paintings for churches and to do any number of paintings that I've called Epiphanies, Illuminations, and even a Resurrection and a Transfiguration. I hope that both Annunciation and its smaller companion Scintillant suggest, through their splashes of brilliant light in the winter forest that change the color of everything and dapple the woods with gold, a little bit of that long-revered story.