GALLERIES
HALF
© 2000 Keith Halonen    oil on panel    18×11¼ in /
46×29 cm
THIS PAINTING IS A
GOLDEN RECTANGLE

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 HALF  NIGHTY-NIGHT  ENDANGERED SPECIES  0=1=INFINITY ZAPATEADO  EMOTE CONTROL

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YOU ARE IN THE MISCELLANEOUS PAINTINGS GALLERY
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     During the early hours of a breezy Northern California day, I happened on a field of hot-air balloonists preparing for their aerial regatta. As I walked through the lift-off zone I saw a balloon laying on its side, only partially inflated. Having never seen this before, I inquired as to what was taking place. It was just now being inflated and the pilot led me around to the basket end where the copilot was blasting a huge jet of flame into the open mouth of the balloon's underside. I stepped inside the aperture and, with the flaming exhaust gushing inches from my head, I snapped a couple photos of this fascinating scene.

     Years later, while searching through my files looking up subject matter for a new painting, I came across the photos. They were so compelling I didn't even consider that the only prepped panels I had on hand were small in size. This scene deserves to be big but I was too excited to wait for new panel stock. This image has graphic hypnotic quality. Like a spider's web it draws the viewer's vision in to a central focus point. Most viewer's find the bullseye pattern irresistable. This painting seems to have universal appeal and I think that pattern must be the reason.

     I find the netting itself to be the most interesting feature and I've invested the greatest detail there in an effort to bring the viewer's interest back out of the center. For me, the beauty lies primarily in the many fine wrinkles and folds which are visible only in this state of partial inflation when the fabric is still somewhat slack.

     I'm also quite taken by the material which lays in folds on the ground, spread out in anticipation of the continuing process of inflation. It reminds me of lava flow frozen in its progress after cooldown.



Detail from HALF

     At over 200%, the enlargement at top left reveals the fingerprint patterns often left in my detail work. I use my fingertips to smudge glaze into smooth texture, or to lift off excess paint in detail areas like this. It imparts a crosshatch quality to fine linework. I constantly wipe my fingers using a cotton rag dampened with citrus thinner and I also scrub thoroughly with dish detergent about every 40 minutes.

     The lower left detail displays a view of the center of the painting. There was no need to use special techniques to attract the viewers' attention. The spoke-like line patterns of the balloon structure are the only design elements needed to guarantee that focus zeroes in to the center. If anything, this painting begged for the reverse approach. I actually put much more energy into the detail of the folds in the outer sections of the balloon fabric because I found those areas to be abundant in subtle tonal variegations.

     And here again is the title/signature combo camouflaged in the folds of the balloon fabric.

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