Each piece in this series was created in the style of a three-strip Technicolor film. Separate cyan, magenta and yellow paintings were made, scanned, then output to film and lit from behind. The saturated color from this process is evocative of the heightened emotion in Technicolor films.
The painting process was done "blind", not knowing how the colors would align or combine with one another. Adjustments to color were made by creating new paintings. For the ten finished pieces in this series, I created 143 paintings.
For the campfire painting, I created 36 gouaches. They are shown below along with the proof for each set.
The final image, output on film, mounted and lit from behind.
The title for this project is taken from Allen Ginsberg’s poem “The Lion-for-Real”. I discovered the poem in Jane Hirshfield’s “Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry” in the chapter titled, Facing the Lion: The Way of Shadow and Light in Some Twentieth-Century Poems.
Hirshfield describes “The Lion for Real”:
The whole story is here. The lion enters, we run away, we try everything to distract ourselves, our friends don’t believe what we tell them…then, the unavoidable battle of wills, the surrender. And more—to be rejected still, forced into a continuing precarious existence that must be deepened and further deepened before the vow is accepted. For giving oneself to the lion, or to poetry, is a vow—nothing more, nothing less that one’s entire life will be asked.
…[the lion] is an untamed part of the world, something that cannot be owned or controlled, that must in the end be acknowledged because its presence in our lives is irrefutable, overwhelming, and—if we allow it to be—transformative.
My subject matter is a cinematic autobiography made from photos which were discarded by my family. I turned the flat, black and white or faded images into Technicolor, a medium which is associated with the heightened emotion of melodrama. Technicolor movies were the realm I escaped to during a sometimes difficult childhood.
The interior of my studio showing the 143 paintings made for this series. Initially, I hung the pieces to keep track of the changes I was making, but in the end, it made an interesting timeline, complete with all notes and adjustments. The process of making the series is laid bare.
I edited and then screened a clip reel of classic Technicolor films as part of this exhibition. Everything from Dorothy entering the world of Technicolor in the Wizard of Oz, to John Wayne wrestling with an octopus. It was the 100th anniversary of Technicolor. Many attendees were not familiar with the vibrant colors and heightened emotions which are so characteristic of classic three-strip Technicolor films. The films were shown outdoors, free of charge.