rembrandt, q-tips, and plexiglass
This is, by far, one of the more unusual mediums that I have ever worked in. It is white plexiglass, with black ink. That’s it. No white paint at all. For me, this little sketch was a milestone in painting. I suddenly understood how light worked. Here’s how it happened.
The plexiglass, being white, was covered entirely with black ink. You actually roll it onto the plexi with a roller, much like a roller used to paint walls with. Once the ink has been applied, you then have a few minutes to work, before the ink dries onto the plexi. How do you create light? You pull off ink, rather than applying. Everything is dark until light hits it. Earlier in the day, I had made a copy of Rembrandt’s Woman Bathing in a Stream, and had the photocopy there in the studio. I then borrowed some cotton Q-tips that some girl had in her makeup bag, and rolled up some paper towels. And so, having inked the plexiglass, and armed with nothing but Q-tips and paper towel, I quickly set to work.
I would describe the next twenty minutes of work, but truthfully, I can’t remember them. I just remember working in a fury, pulling the ink off delicately yet rapidly, moving the ink around with the cotton, at times moving it with my fingers. Twenty minutes passed, and I stepped back and looked at my work. It really surprised me, in that I never thought that something of this magnitude could be created with such unlikely tools. But that’s just it, it is the revelation behind the medium that matters.
In Genesis, it says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…and darkness was over the face of the deep… and God said “Let there be light”, and there was light.” But it doesn’t say that God created the sun or any stars until much later. So, is the light in Genesis a metaphor for revelation? The painter in me wants to think so.