My Paintings from the 70s on our Walls

Here are 3 large paintings I completed in one week at the end of my spring quarter ay UCSD in 1972. My major was Biological Science, but I managed to also do a minor in Visual Arts. I had Physical Chemistry, Molecular Biology, and Immunology finals that spring and had very little time to spend on the final for the painting class. The assignment was to submit 3 large Abstract acrylic paintings. Since I didn’t have much money, I built and stretched the canvases myself. Sadly this was my only painting class, and in class we painted large abstracts on paper on the floor. We did have classes in life drawing, art history, and film studies. Fortunately I also had several wonderful graphic design classes at De Anza Jr College in Cupertino.

So the following is the story about these large paintings. They are each about 4 ft by 4 ft . I spent 2 days constructing the frames and stretching the canvases. Fortunately a summer job I had a few years earlier in a gallery stretching canvases was very helpful, and gave me the confidence to make my own.

I had completed my sketches and drawings designs. Next I started off penciling in the shapes and then spent about 30 hours on the first painting. (Here is how it looks in our living room now) I taped of some sections then laid the canvas on the ground and dripped and scrubbed in greens and yellows with acrylic paint . Then painting in the 3 stripes was easy and fun. The orange dots were a problem and very time consuming. Soon I realized that my deadline would prevent me from spending this much time on the other two . I quickly added in the bottom blue section and liked the overall look. It was finally done

Since Molecular Biology and microscopes were on my mind, my theme was molecules or atoms moving about, or if looked at another way large astronomical views. This painting #2 of Molecular motion took about 12 hours, again taping off sections to show distance, dabbing in textures with sponges, fine tuning near objects .

My week was going by fast! and the 3 paintings for the final were all due tomorrow ! I had one more to start and complete. I grabbed my handy masking tape and split the canvas into 3 zones. I splashed paint into each zone, added a white outline around the central inverted T, and dabbed small spots with a sponge onto the inner inverted T. Pulled off the tape and it was done in about 6 hours ! Assignment completed and ready to turn in. I did get an A for the course. My Mom had this in her hallway for many years until I had a place to hang it.

“Molecular Motion” Acrylic on canvas 4 ft x 4 ft
“Microscopic or Telescopic” Acrylic on canvas 4 ft x 4 ft.
“Molecular Biology” Acrylic on canvas 4 ft x 4 ft

About Al Shamble

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I have a minor in Visual Arts from UCSD where I received my BA in Biology. I am inspired by Nature and love hiking in California's Sierra Nevada and diving beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean. I enjoy the interplay of painting Plein Air, being an outdoor photographer, and creating paintings in the studio.
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2 Responses to My Paintings from the 70s on our Walls

  1. Dana Richards says:

    It’s highly entertaining to learn how you pulled off 3 major acrylic works in 1 week! I like them all and perversely in the opposite order of how much time it took you to paint them !

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