In this series, the artists working at Creative Gateways give us a behind-the-scenes insight into their current works in progress, inspiration, and creative challenges. Today, we look at the history of the fabrics Michael Colpitts incorporates into his mixed media pieces…
Where Did this Idea Come From?
Michael’s first medium he worked with was clay. The ceramic sculptures that he continues to create are also the inspiration for the texture additions to his paintings. Michael’s ceramic masks, as an example, have multiple patterns and textures mixed in with smoother areas of clay that adds more interest than if clay were simply folded. To accomplish this same kind of detail in his elaborate paintings, he adds textile layers on top of the paint. He explains, “It enriches the canvas.” This gives more visual interest so that when someone walks up to Michael’s paintings, the different patterned fabrics challenge the viewer to notice what is painted and what is not.
For Michael, he continuously wants to create paintings that, from afar, have an aesthetically pleasing look, but also offer details to notice up close. The biggest challenge for him when he first began this adventure was “how to put it in a painting so it doesn’t look like patchwork quilts.” It is one thing to add different mediums onto a piece, it is an entirely different feat to have them flow with the paints and colors in a manner that does not work against the piece as a whole. He ended that statement by noting “that’s my gift.” And what a gift it is!
Discovering Something New
As Michael works through the two dimensional aspects of his pieces, he also gradually adds in more textures. He never arranges what fabrics will go into a piece. “It depends entirely on the colors I use and that of the fabrics.” Every step of his paintings change what will come next, and for him it is the greatest feeling in the world. “What’s better than to discover something new that creates something you never expected?”
When adding different materials onto the canvas, he focuses on placing them where they will enhance other aspects of the piece. This often includes overlaying fabrics with different materials and mediums. He commented that this painting style that he developed took many years of experimenting and learning. To continue this progression in his art, he often looks back on previous paintings to see how he can improve upon them. These paintings continue to be “compositional inspiration” for his ongoing and future works.
See the Effects!
You can see more of Michael’s textured paintings – as well as the work of all our resident artists – at the Creative Gateways gallery, open 7 days a week, 10am-5pm!