The Floating Colors Process
Each of my multilayered drawings begins not on a blank page but on a beautiful sheet that has emerged from the floating colors process.
That process begins when I float oil paints, mixed with bronze powders, on water. The drops of color spread out on the surface as if magnified under a microscope lens, echoing the cellular forms of nature. I transfer the floating image to paper, and repeat the process many times, slowly building translucent layers of color and texture.
These floating colors become the underlayers on which I later draw, with charcoal, pastel pencil, and oil crayon. Their organic patterns suggest the bones and blood and veins of the body’s interior, and the visual correspondences between the our bodies and the rest of the natural world.
You can see more of the floating colors process in action in a clip from the documentary "Laura Ferguson: Visualizing Inner Space," directed by Peter Barton (or view the full 15-minute film).
This animation shows a drawing taking shape over a floating colors paper.
Floating in water is where my body, too, feels suspended, almost weightless … and where I can move freely, not limited by aches and pains. I’m aware of my body, yet the effort of moving is so easy and balanced and graceful as to seem effortless. It’s a state of body full of visceral reality yet removed from the stress of gravity, transcendent.
That’s the feeling that I try to keep with me when I’m moving through the world, and it’s the feeling I want my work to have, the figures I draw: aware of pain yet transcending it.