By  on August 3, 2007

NEW YORK — Contemporary artist Francine Tint's ability to paint came to an abrupt halt last spring when she sprained an ankle chasing her black cat, Valentine, from the edge of her apartment terrace.

That's because she uses her entire body to splash, sponge, brush and roll acrylic paint across the large canvases that stretch across her studio walls.

"I make moves, I need to exercise and be limber, like a dancer," Tint said, admiring the sunset from her terrace 22 floors above Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.

Describing the process she said, "It is physical and visceral, but it's about color."

Tint paints color series — a succession of green and blue hues or pink, orange and gold. Her craft is as much about mixing paint as it is applying it. "I mix paints for a very long time, and then when I paint, I do it very fast. My ego is gone."

"It's not precious, but it has a purpose," she said.

Tint works on six to seven canvases of various sizes at a time. The smaller ones tend to emerge from the process so thick with paint that they take on a sculptural form of sorts. It's messy work, which requires the petite artist to slip into a wet suit and a pair of galoshes and pull her flaxen hair into a shower cap and become, as she described it, part of the painting.

To encourage rhythm and movement, the artist listens to jazz each time she paints.

"Jazz is very related to modern art. It takes off on a theme, goes onto something entirely different and then comes back," said Tint, who on this evening had a John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman CD playing. Drawing a parallel between abstract art and jazz and classical art and music, Tint said, "Abstract art is like a Titian painting without the head. If you look at the shapes and the colors, it's the same."

Tint, who was raised in Brooklyn, had ambitions of becoming a fashion stylist and costume designer, and worked on photo shoots for Clairol, Cover Girl and Love Cosmetics while painting at night. Her career got a jolt when she caught the attention of the eminent art critic Clement Greenberg, who died in 1994. "I just wanted respect from the artists I respected. That was my goal and I got it." She said that Andy Warhol once told her, "that he was a businessman and I was an artist."

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