It happened by accident, as it often does when a painter applies wet, runny paint onto a wet surface. The pigments run on their own, taking off across the paper to form organic shapes and colors.
But as Linda Murray continued to play with her paints, the image that emerged on her paper looked like an infant’s head with a perfect set of eyes, a nose and a mouth. It was just a small part of a 10-by-10-inch painting. But there it was, impossible to ignore or deny.
Murray, who lives in Bath, could only chalk it up to wonder.
“A lot of what happens is accidental,” she said. “Sometimes things I could not create on my own just appear.”
Murray is showing new work at the Sharpe Gallery in Kennebunk, with an opening from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday. She is a longtime Maine painter who lately has begun boldly experimenting with acrylics. She uses a type of decalcomania, a decorative technique that involves the transfer of an image from one material to another.
Murray applies two different kinds of acrylic paints to her surface. They react differently, creating tension on the paper, and sometimes a buildup of pigments, resulting in a three-dimensional quality. She moves the paint by applying a scrunched-up piece of plastic wrap to a part of the surface or moving it with the edge of a credit card.
She’s interested in how the paints mingle and react and how the colors present themselves.
Gallery owner Tracey Sharpe is drawn to abstract art because it feeds her need to think deeply and analytically. She likes Murray’s paintings because they draw her in and ask questions that aren’t always resolved.
“When I look at Murray’s artwork, I can sit with it for long periods of time to contemplate the inner components of what she was imagining,” Sharpe said. “It’s the process of taking what we’re feeling or thinking deeply about and putting it on paper – similar to a writer, it’s a story being told but with paint.”
While a writer can be direct with a story, an abstract artist creates work open to interpretation.
“Linda has a way of placing on a canvas, board or paper what lies deep in the heart, soul or mind – not just what the eye sees,” Sharpe said.
WNERE: Sharpe Gallery, 21 Western Ave., Lower Village, Kennebunk
WHEN: Reception 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday
INFO: 967-6331 or thesharpegallery.com