"Light Passing Through"

My oil painting technique is called Dialuminism (”light passing through”) and embeds metal leaf and oil paint within layers of solar resistant resin (for a thick, high gloss finish) or archival satin varnish (for a soft, satin finish). The light plays off some areas and casts shadows beneath others, creating a dimensional painting that changes in appearance depending upon where the viewer is standing in relation to the light source.

The Birth of a Genre

When I see artwork that is unique or hear music that is really different, or taste a really innovative flavor combination at one of our local restaurants, I can't help but wonder, "how did they come up with this?" What was the creative process? What were the steps that led from the conception to completion?

I am painter and I am in "learning mode" every day. But when I approach art this way (always inquisitive, not as having "arrived"), I become open to new creative ideas.  Because of this "inquisitiveness", I have come up with a form of art that is (happily) all my own. I call it "dialuminism" which is a compound Greek word that basically means "light passing through" and it's what I call my art genre because that's how it works. I paint on metallic leaf, and so light reflects off that metal and shoots back through the paint, basically creating a back-lit oil painting. Learn more on my Process page.  

And as much as I would love to take all the credit for what I do, I must admit I am not the first to think of painting on metal leaf. The ancient Egyptians started it and the Greeks perfected it. 

As I understand it, all creative ideas build upon previous creative ideas. There is truly nothing new under the sun. What I do as an artist is basically to take pre-existing "ingredients" (or ideas) and re-mix them into a combination that is itself unique. 

So as I consider the steps I've taken, I think I need to confess that I owe my genre to the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. Now before you dismiss me as a right-wing nut job, let me explain. Around 2000, I was strolling though the Mt. Dora Arts Festival in Mt. Dora, FL. One of the booths was staffed by a gentleman that created Greek Orthodox Icons.  When I approached the booth, the sun was shining down through the ancient oak trees and Spanish moss and striking the surface of countless icons, each painted on gold leaf, and I could not leave the booth. I had never seen color do what it was doing. Turns out, that when you back-light color (with light reflecting off the gold leaf), you amplify that color tremendously. I had seen icons in my art history book in college, but I had never actually seen any in person. What I saw stunned me. When I got home, I began playing with metal leaf and oil paint and I couldn't stop. Today, I paint no angels, or virgin Mary's, but every oil painting I create now began with a spark of creativity launched off the face of an icon.

That was the beginning. And every day is (literally) a new beginning.