1. Two Faced Portrait. Oil on Wood. 18" x 24". 2005.
2. Abduction. Oil on Wood. 16" x 20". 1997.
3. Swimmer. Oil on Wood. 11" x 14". 1998.
—The first stage is the drawing, getting the drawing together. That’s always my favorite part, that’s the best. I’m actually not that good at drawing—I trace everything, with no shame. So I generally start with everything on tracing paper. Then I do lots of Xeroxing and enlarging. And then things happen, changes happen, and I get to play around with things. Everything comes together like a collage.
Then I draw everything on a white panel with a watercolor pencil. I’ll do that until I get the drawing how I like it. Then I’ll do the various layers. It’s mostly for the flesh that I’ll do all of this, because I have so much flesh in my painting! Over the drawing, I do a coat of Caput Mortem—which is an old-time technique, an earth red—and over that I’ll put three layers of white and a layer of green which neutralizes the red. All that creates an optical gray, a grisaille. Then the color starts happening and that’s the tortuous stuff. That’s the hard part, because it has to be perfect. The color has to set a mood, and be just right. I’ll redo a color 10 times sometimes until I get it right.
—Sometimes they are narratives, but more often they are just visions and I don’t usually know what they are about until years later. Sometimes they foretell things in a strange way. It’s sort of metaphysical. I don’t think I can give you an example.
—I spend a huge amount of time on my own. I’m a hermit. I really enjoy revisiting my paintings, redoing my paintings again. But as to their meanings, I hope that people are able to look at my work and come away with their own interpretations.
—Interviewed by Artinfo.
Colette Calascione was born in San Francisco in 1971 and received her B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. She resides in New York.