Art Brokerage: Gwen Toomalatai American Artist: The luminous quality of Toomalatai's paintings is accomplished by a series of meticulous steps. She uses birch plywood, rather than canvas as her base because the rigidity of the boards suits her technique of adding and removing layers of paint. Initially, each board is covered with an oil base that is applied by knife. This provides the texture to Toomalatai's work. The shine derives from her use of layers of paint and a glaze medium that she developed herself. The purity to the hues in Toomalatai's images is the result of the artist not mixing colors together. She applies a layer of paint mixed with glaze to the wood, and then wipes back or sands down that layer, before applying the next layer of paint and glaze. Keeping the colors pure means that each layer remains rich and clear. Light travels through each layer, hits the white base, and then reflects and refracts back through the image to the viewer. The evolution of this technique was spurred by Toomalatai's study and appreciation of 17th century northern European painters, most notably Rembrandt and Jan van Eyck. Rembrandt's manipulation of light and shadow, and the glowing quality to van Eyck's paintings, prompted Toomalatai to explore pure pigments and different surfaces to paint on. After considerable experimentation, she arrived at the methods she employs in her art to this day. Each luminous masterpiece by artist Gwen Peine Toomalatai engages the senses. Viewers are treated to a delightful visual experience, and gain a deeper appreciation of the sacred aspects of the natural world. Toomalatai's paintings are a discovery of the sacred both within and without.