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SUBTRACTIVE INK PAINTING PROCESS

My ink paintings are made with a process that starts by randomly brushing, spraying, pouring and flicking ink across paper, then letting it dry.
At this stage it looks something like this

Later I submerge the paper in a flat developing basin of water, the water is about two inches deep; I work on the painting with a stiff bush gradually subtracting the ink.

This is a slow process, the paper may remain submerged for several days at a time.

The innitial application of ink is very fast, sometimes a matter of seconds, so all the time and painting work itself is in the removal of the paint. It is more like painting in reverse, white on black, except lifting permanent black ink from white paper is an extremely delicate process, as the paper surface is fragile, it can tear, or break up into fibers, and is often so stained that the lightest it can go is a mid tone grey. So what I am getting at is that, I have to work with what is there in the original splatters and make that randomness into something - it feels a lot like I am an archaeologist carefully excavating images that are buried in the layers of ink.

Working this way makes my hands turn white and wrinkly from being in the water for long periods of time. I change the water only when it is too dirty to see what I am doing.

At a certain point an image emerges from the ink, like a premonition becoming real, in a nuanced way, I am coaxing it out, like the painting is opening it's eyes from being asleep, not necessarily representing something specific but expressing abstractly in its own terms. There is a certain moment when I am looking down into the water at form, light and space.

The painting to the right has been through this process. Although it is not the same as the above (because I do not have before and after pictures) it started out looking similar


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