Louise at work
|Isthmus #440, 12″ x 12″, 2010|
In college, she had learned how to stretch canvas, but found the “bounce” of the fabric uncomfortable. Pulling the fabric too tight to eliminate bounce would then warp the bars; so for years, Louise stayed away from painting all together. After reaching limited blending with oil pastel, she tried oil painting again and working on panel. Louise worked on panels she made and sanded, so they would be as smooth as she liked. She would work and sand long weekends on her back porch during the Chicago summers to get the precise surface. Laborious and hard on the body, sanding gave way to searching for prepared panels. Both the Gessobord™ and Claybord appealed to her, however, it was the Claybord’s ultra-smooth surface that won out.
|Water #456, 36″ ‘x 36″, 2011|
Although Louise uses Claybord, which is highly absorbent with oil paints, she says that it is the best surface for her work because it has the same ultra-smooth finish she aimed for in her own panel making. The first few oil paint layers dry to a matte finish, which is okay because she expects those first layers to be just lay-in color, determining the overall direction the piece will go. The more layers she applies, the richer the oils become on the surface, sitting atop one another. Louise does nothing extra to prep the panels when they arrive, she just digs in.
|Water #447, 10″ x 12″, 2011|
Louise was born in New Orleans, lived as a child in Clemson, South Carolina, and also Oxford, England before moving to Chicago as a young teen. The city wasn’t as “free” as she was accustomed and the move unconsciously altered her subject matter over time as an adult artist. It was the swimming of her youth, and now the waters of Lake Michigan, that opened the boundaries and gave her freedom as a person and artist. Her art mirrors life changes and melds with the swimming that has always been a steady discipline for her. From drawing in oil pastels early on to fully blended atmospheric oil paintings, Louise’s magical work is much more than a waterscape or moonscape, it is her own story.
For more tips in painting on Claybord with Oils: Claybord and Oils
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