Table from the BFA Exhibition

Table from the BFA Exhibition
Table from the BFA Exhibition © 1999 Jeff Thomann
Media: Oil Painting
This Work was one of several in a series I created for my BFA exhibition back in 1999. The BFA show was based on images from my dreams that I tried to remember via a dream journal/sketchbook. I’m not exactly sure what the symbol on the paper that the hands are holding means, but it was a part of the dream that I remember in detail, along with the composition of the painting including that window in the distance that sort of backlit the room, making it difficult to make out the details of the features on the individuals in the meeting room. The framing of the room is odd looking as the walls don’t seem to match up, but that too was a part of the dream.

In many of my dreams the architecture and location of images in a composition I see in detail seem to have some sort of deep and profound meaning to me. At the time that I created the BFA show I was studying Carl Jung’s theories on dream archetypes. I believe that both a location in a dream as well as the individuals can become archetypes. That is why we have dreams that are located in the same, or very similar settings multiple times throughout our lifetime.

I do not practice magic or the black arts (well at least not directly even though art creation itself is a bit of a magical act in some ways), but do sometimes read about these things as they interest me somewhat since they are sort of related to psychology and art history, both of which are topics I have a lot of interest in…

I think that new age ideas about astral kingdoms created via meditation practices are directly related to lucid dreaming techniques that we all experience at some point in our lives and that the architecture, objects, and figures (archetypes) we see and interact with in our dreams can play somewhat of a major role in the worldview and in that way can psychologically help us alter the world around us… but it’s not truly ‘magic’ – it’s psychological manipulation and self therapy techniques that can alter the way we think about the world as the objects, places, and things in our dreams are really our subconscious thought patterns communicating with our conscious brain, picking up patterns and connections that we may never have noticed before, allowing us to become aware of things in a new light that we have not seen them before consciously, etc. Dreams can and do play a role in our waking world realities every day whether we acknowledge it or not.

A few 5″ x 7″ doodles

These are a few 5″ x 7″ doodles on hard board. These works, among others, were presented to my brother in Texas as a Christmas present this year (we met them halfway in Oklahama City yesterday and drove all the way back last night getting home around 1:30 am – fyi – If you are looking for 435 in Kansas City, DO NOT TAKE 135 after the toll booth – take 35 instead! Also, there’s a nice little connector off of 435 that will let you hook over to just south of the Independence Mall that we found for the second time on accident last night – nicely done happy accident since that saved us some time – hard to miss that connector since it veers off to the right so it’s really an exit but seems to not be). Any work that is ‘from the imagination’ instead of depicting something like an illustration or drawing from life, I consider a “doodle.”

The color ones are mainly color pencil or color pencil sticks. The white one is china marker. There’s also a little China marker in some highlights on some of the color ones since I like to use china marker and prismacolor color pencils as top layers to add extra ‘punch’ to Crayola and Roseart (cheap color pencil) underlayers that get worked and reworked over and over. The white of the china marker can’t be beat nor can the pigment in the Prismacolor for the final touch.

Many artists use Prismacolor only and never use other brands. I think that’s just wasteful spending since Prismacolor color pencils average about a dollar a piece and on some really layered works I can rework an area enough to burn several pencils on one drawing sometimes. For underlayers expensive pigments in Prismacolor is not needed if you are going to work, re-work and then re-work again a few hundred times as I like. It is a nice touch for top layers, but for underlayers, it can get very expensive very fast for something that I’ll just essentially erase away and smudge to death so that the pigment itself isn’t visible anyways as it gets coated by layer upon layer of wax with more new layers on top.

In the upcoming year I plan to create many more 5″ x 7″ works. I love this size since it’s exactly twice the size of traditional “art cards”, exactly the same size needed for postcards or framed reproductions, and is just right for travel or hanging in a home vs larger works that work better in galleries that have tons of wall space.

I’m also starting to experiment a little bit with mixing color pencils and oil pastels with encaustic painting (wax painting that basically mixes oil color with a mixture of bees wax, paraffin wax and some manmade waxes to add more durability as bees wax and paraffin are both extremely brittle under certain conditions). I’m not sure I can do much with it since the encaustic doesn’t take the color pencils too well, but if the color pencils are the lower layers it might lead to some interesting potential as the encaustic can be layered three dimensionally much more than flat color pencils can by themselves.

I probably don’t have enough room for it now where we are currently located, nor will I for the next few years, but I’ve always wanted to experiment with mixing plaster sculpture and encaustic painting techniques someday. That’ll be many years down the road though. This upcoming year I really want to focus on the 5x7s and really ‘learn’ all the techniques and tricks I can about working on these small panels.