I have in my studio a beautiful stretcher , 78 by 110 inches built years ago by my friend Fred Esher . I need the canvas for it and I’m so anxious to start that instead of going to my regular supplier in Brooklyn , I go to a smaller shop close by in Soho. They don’t have linen that size in stock. The only available canvas that large is cotton duck,it’s right there, good American cotton duck, three times cheeper than the one I want. I fall for it. I know I’ll regret it but I need to try it. I drive with my purchase to the studio and before lunch time,the canvas is stretched and the first coat of gesso applied .
I’m so anxious to start because ,this time,I now what I want to do, a “cow” .I will follow the same steps I took to make “La Bête”, a painting of the same size that I believe to be among the three best three or four works I painted this year. I already try to use this’ painting technique a couple of times since, but fail miserably with color,shape,depth,scale… Basically because I was working in a rush ,with the end result ahead of the process.
So I begin by preparing my paint mix and sticking the piece of carved wood that ,acting as a dorsal spine ,will create a tent-like situation for me to control the poring of paint.
There are things I like but it doesn’t have the depth and touch of linen. I start the process of observation , what to add, what to remove,just intuitively . I decided to increase the depth of darker areas with Egyptian violet, that is to play an important roll later.
Nah….I can feel that I’m losing spontaneity because of fear. So,I should stop and let it rest. That much I know by now.
But…. I want to paint……
to be continued……
“… The same thing happens with the coats (Mantos) paintings that he has stripped from the heavy stretcher that reinforced them as objects, turning the cloth that hid them into an extension of the painted surface, with visible traces of the work. Murado describes and discusses the process: “This is the first ida y vuelta influence of the craft of making furniture towards my paintings, and it is arrived at precisely by withdrawing from them that which is most furniture-like: the stretcher… We could say that, structurally, a painting is an upholstered wooden furnishing that is painted on.” After the synthesis, he goes on: “Several things happened when the stretcher was removed. First, the edges of the fabric that surround the structure and do not belong to the painting came to the fore, revealing what happened during the execution of the work. Another thing was that, by hanging them a few inches from the wall, they moved slightly as draperies or tapestries, showing the nature of the fabric from which they are made; in this case a thick, very heavy, Belgian linen. They showed themselves as art objects and not just as vehicles. They also became able to adapt to any incidence and obstacle on the wall, they were more adaptable and more independent from their environment: not touching the wall or the ground grants them a mystical nature to which I am almost addicted. In addition, when linen is free from the stretcher, it registers changes in humidity and moves with air currents, coming to life.” It is the temptation of bringing paining to life, of showing that it breathes. The truth is that, when still, their appearance resembles Baroque Galician altarpieces, with shapes and weights that boldly advance towards the viewer. Not being anchored to the ground, however, they acquire a sense of lightness and mystery, a kind of restlessness.”
Miguel Fernández-Cid, 2014
Extract from the text for the upcoming catalog of the CENTRAD exhibition in Lugo,Spain.
Translation: Sara Murado Arias
New paintings in progress