The Passage of Time Process

The Passage of Time


acrylic and oil on prepared paper

22 x 30 inches

I was alone, and for a while I stared

into a sky washed clean by rain,

an atmosphere luminous and polished,

ready to ascend, transparent as wings.

from Earthly Light (Homage to the 17th Century Dutch Painters)

by Edward Hirsh

This series of paintings refers to fleeting moments of light and color in the sky. They are meant to represent the passage of time, and to evoke experiences of stillness and expansiveness.

These paintings are also color studies that reveal how I use various colored acrylic primings and layered oil colors to create luminous effects. In my work the very first layers of color are of the utmost importance to how the work evolves and how the finished painting will look. This thinking is expressed in this artwork. It makes known to the viewer the earliest steps in my painting process. In the top row of rectangles, I reveal the layers that went into the bottom row of rectangles.

  • The horizontal bands at the top of each rectangle reveal five different colored acrylic primings. From left to right: red, yellow ochre, earth red, violet, and green. These colored primings are the chromatic foundation for subsequent layers of oil paint.
  • Each colored priming is painted with a layer of translucent white acrylic paint. This translucent layer helps to create an atmospheric effect even before commencing to paint in oils.
  • The vertical bands on the left of each rectangle show the first layer of oil paint. Each of these colors is gradually mixed with white to make a gradation from dark at the top to light at the bottom.
  • The wider vertical band on the right side of each rectangle shows the second layer of oil paint. Again, the colors are gradually mixed with white to make gradations from darker at the top to lighter at the bottom, but in this final layer, additional colors are added to create various chromatic effects.