Illuminations: Lucinda Luvaas

by Deidre S. Greben

Lucinda Luvaas creates the flat, black forms and lines of her graphic compositions not by chiseling away areas of wood panel to produce the stenciled look of block printing, but surprisingly by building up surfaces in relief using a concoction of gel, wax, and pigment. The process is well suited to Luvaas’s subject—what she describes as an “elevation” of the everyday. In Spin, the popular recreational diversion Frisbee becomes a metaphor for the suspended moment, a specific instant or fleeting gesture plucked and preserved from daily life. The outdoor pastime is given centerstage, surrounded by imagery Luvaas has morphed from assorted photographs, including the observers who frame the lower half of the field and whose gaze lifts with ours, anticipating the flying disk’s trajectory.

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“My technical process produces pictorial effects much like impressions, imprints, fossil left overs from life. My artwork combines oil painting, acrylic, relief techniques, drawings, using graphite, ink pens, prismacolor pencils and oilbars, video, and photography. She has an insatiable curiosity about materials and always looks for new ways to create a unique visual interpretation of the world.”

Luvaas has no interest in recording exactly what she sees, but rather wants to convey the impressions of what she sees, wanting to craft the mood and feeling of a scene or event.

She has developed a new and innovative technique called: “Imprinting .” This method of working has required many years of experimentation to perfect. It is a meticulous process that is a hybrid between painting, relief techniques and printmaking. It took much trial and error to find the right tools for each step of the process such as: sharp scapels for very intricate, delicate cuts, japanese knives, and italian sputulas of all shapes and sizes. The hard-edged look is painstakingly hard to accomplish…much can go wrong. For instance, there are many grid-like sections that are laid out on the wood panel, and they must be perfectly aligned and seamless. All of the sections must be secure while imprinting, so that the artist can produce a clean, crisp result. This can be very difficult at times, especially when the sections are delicate and fragile.

Ms. Luvaas continues to experiment and refine her techniques with this new and original approach to fine art.