Artists At Play: Authentic Self-Expression * Burning Toast

Parallel Realms

Parallel Realms

Phantom Neglect

Phantom Neglect

Artist Name: Burning Toast

Artist Bio: An urban professional who seeks to separate her artistic expression from the boundaries deemed appropriate by her professional identity.

Painting with Sculpting Tools: For several years I worked with clay while creating colorful, detail-glazed, narrative sculptures. Sensory intuition guided my hand-built forms into visual puns and esoteric nuances. During that period, critics tended to comment, “You should be painting.” Although the suggestion was consistent, my resistance was resolute. The sculpting process was viscerally essential for me, and using a brush to articulate conscious ideas felt superficial and contrived.

Then I met a painter who understood my challenge. He told me to try painting with my sculpting tools. I embraced his directive with flirtatious curiosity. How might it feel to work with two dimensions and yet maintain sensory feedback?

However, painting was still a new genre for me, and oil on paper works were a sloppy, confused mess. Since there were no expectations for image, there was no dread of failure. I was stimulated by possibility and texture. I was also enjoying the feeling of dragging my tools over the various nooks and crannies that formed from the practice. Often I painted over old, dried attempts. At some point images poked though the textured oil like timid ghosts, and a technique began to emerge.

Creative Process: I begin with a squeeze of color from a tube of paint, then determine a color pallet, and proceed to move the base colors against the paper surface with my clay tools. Thus an abstract foundation is created upon which a visual story will develop. That layer sets and partially dries.  I then proceed to add additional layers which are thinned with a clear gel. This integrates a type of faux finish to the work-in-progress. It is from the merging layers that the ghostly creatures begin to peek through. Each additional layer confronts possibility and risk; adding forms requires losing parts of the painting as it evolves. Some pieces feel complete with very little paint on the paper. Others continue to progress after repeated attempts to liberate a theme, awareness, or characters fail to manifest. Each completed painting is heat-mounted onto pressboard for preservation.

Subconscious Manifestations: There are denizens of archetypal stirrings that require retreat from the conscious mind in order to emerge. It is through a type of productive, functioning sleep that I create.  This process demands a holographic type of listening.  While I am creating there are perceptions of sound, smell, touch, and even taste that occur as they might in a dream.  It’s not the physical actuality that’s important; rather it’s the lure of impression that cultivates my painted responses.  Sensing infinite directions of form, fusion, and light beckons an evolution of line, shadow, and phantom.  Each layer that’s painted becomes a realm unto itself. The intention is to facilitate the materializing of the apparitions as additional layers of translucent paint invoke interplay among colliding worlds. It’s very easy to drown an image before it becomes lucid. It’s likewise difficult to stay out of the way as the surface becomes haunted by invited yet unanticipated guests.

Therapeutic Release: Ultimately, this practice frees me from my control tendencies and enables me to see myself from a distance, thereby noticing what’s come forth from my unconscious depths to find new voice. The hardest part is remembering to sign a finished painting; perhaps, because it doesn’t come from my conscious ego, and doesn’t feel as though it’s entirely mine.


Who knew?

A Warrior Princess


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