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Rebecca Weller

Chinese Figures, 2009


Rebecca Weller Transformation of Velatura

Rebecca Weller, Crouching Girl, 2008 COURTESY AND PHOTO THE ARTIST

Employed with a mixture of translucent glazes and thin opaque veils over a solid layer of dry paint, velatura painting technique was first explored during the Renaissance and was most famously used by both Titan and Velazquez.  The method of manipulating with underlying layers was applied to reduce the risk of oil paint cracking. In order to properly create the velatura style, the under laying oil paint must be thinned down to a watery consistency followed by the thicker layers with a greater proportion of oil.

Through studying an old master’s painting technique of layering and working with washes and oil paint, using a Cincinnati Art Academy education as her foundation, Rebecca Weller has developed her unique and evolving style of creating the structure in luminescence shades with very thin layers of pigments allowing the paint to run and drip.  It has been a process of trial and error, push and pull, learning to take a brash stroke and working with very methodic style where she would sketch first, make a small painting and, finally, work large. Later she began using a strikingly narrow range of colors and painting right on the big fresh canvases applying aggressive brush strokes on top of the tea stain delicate patterns completely disregarding techniques in the process. Weller’s paintings are often large – 4 by 5 feet – drippy, underlayered in acrylic paint and washed with thin layers of oil.

“I want to be as in control of every brushstroke as I can possibly be, but I also want to give them freedom to do whatever they want and not necessarily fix them on purpose,” Rebecca says.  “Chinese-American painter Hung Liu, who has been my biggest living influence, says that her work is like jazz music, she never knows where she is going to go but she knows she will get there. I understand her point now. I don’t want to start painting with an end in my mind.  I want to enjoy it along the way and see how the piece evolves.”

Weller’s paintings often make use of images of photographs of oriental characters, particularly those of women, children, workers and old men. It was over 10 years ago when Rebecca Weller found herself fascinated with the images of Japanese women on post cards.  Black and white photographs of geisha taken years ago representing the ideas of beauty and perfection inspired her to create a large scale series artwork. It began a journey of painting which has brought her to the emotional “Chinese Figures” and “The Workers Series”.

Please read full article in Winter issue