by Teresa McCue
oil on panel; 24" x 24"
Even when I am not painting, I am thinking about painting. I continuously observe nature, looking at light, color transitions, texture and patterns. In my work, I endeavor to use color and light to evoke the feeling of a place or a moment. It is a supreme compliment when someone has a visceral response to my work, almost feeling it first…and then seeing it.
I start each painting by laying down color. Often, I work in a series, each painting informing the others. A specific palette will unify a body of work, but each painting needs to be distinct. I apply many layers of paint, building the surface, pushing back and forth between dark and light, muted color and saturated, editing, contemplating, adjusting -until the painting feels complete. It’s a dance between learned skills regarding composition and color and my own tuition. Recently, I am leaning a bit more into my intuition, allowing myself to experiment more freely without a specific outcome in mind and trusting that the painting will lead the way. I am excited about the creative journey ahead!
In recent years, I have become even more focused on the properties of my materials. They are not only a conduit to my message, but also a key component of the richness of the painting. I want to make a painting that is at once arresting, as the viewer takes in the whole, and also continually reveals hidden jewels of color and light within the surface: simplified composition, with complex paint / pastel.
Soft Pastel: Pastel is essentially pure pigment with a small amount of binder that allows one to hold on to it in stick form. Colors are blended right on the surface. This affords an immediacy, which allows the work to flow freely. The pastel breaks down to a velvety powder as it is moved around, lending itself to an ethereal, atmospheric effect.
Pigment Sticks: Like pastel, pigment sticks are rich in pigment with just a small amount of binder allowing one to hold on to it in stick form. In this case, the binder is linseed oil and beeswax. The consistency is more like that of lipstick and is extremely malleable. The process of mixing color directly on the substrate, and the flow that allows, is very similar to that of working with pastel.
Acrylic: Acrylic has exponential opportunities for creative exploration. The paint itself comes in a variety of viscosities and there are many mediums available, which can be added to the paint or used to prime the surface to create texture. I particularly enjoy incorporating iridescence, which underscores my fascination with light.
It's a joy to move between these wonderful and distinct mediums, each bringing its own special properties to the paintings.