I tried to capture the Maelstrom at the center of the atomic tests in the Pacific in 1946. Its sheer power was overwhelming: even as the mushroom cloud at the top was starting to collapse, the center column was still rising … though starting to fall around the outside edges. Awesomely beautiful and horrible at the same time.
Maelstrom Acrylic on Yupo 11×14 $725
Okay, so I’m still fixated on the atomic bomb tests in the Pacific in 1946, now I’m working with Acrylic on Yupo (that plastic paper, like painting on a plastic dinner plate, only rectangular). Explosion: same theme slightly different approach.
Acrylic behaves differently on Yupo: it slides around, thins in the center when you press hard with the wedge, thickens around the edges.
I started with blue and black, with a little raw sienna mixed with white.
Frank O’Cain said it was really two paintings: top and bottom, so I integrated them. And then I decided to try just painting the top.
I made the raw sienna and white come down over the top of the blue to try and convey the way the mushroom cloud started to collapse (even though the center column was still rising). And, of course, the blue represented the beautiful blue sky and the suddenly churning ocean.
By adding red instead of blue in Explosion III, I tried to convey the fiery power of the blast.
Not sure which one I like the most or, more importantly, think is the most successful.