Well, this is going to be one of the last painting that will be started as part of the body of work- or at least paintings- that I’m calling a series. The piece in the upper left was a very early effort in the series that was abandoned, and the upper right corner held interest for me ever since it was done. This one started from a transparency and tone map as well.
There are a number of non-commercial reasons I’ve felt the need to close this chapter and reflect on what I learned from these paintings that I should take forward to the next body of work. My thoughts on painting have been in no small measure about the drawing system I’ve used to generate compositions, which is a strategy but not a subject (right?) and not the only one (or even approach to this specific one) possible. Producing the physical cubes has also helped me think about spatial relationships, gravity and light source. And of course, color! Clearly the latter is something present as an important element (how can it not be to a formalist?), which begs the question can or should it be more clearly a subject.
When I began this one, I wanted to revisit some of the peculiarities of smaller cubes but many many more of them, on a surface that’s human scale- below will be 40″ x 60″ when complete (so, let’s scale up as we scale down, or vice versa).
Quite happy with the chroma choice for atmosphere (especially in the areas where it shows through among the mass of cubes), and I tried to punch up the sheen on the cubes with heavy gel and work in some subtlety so the finished piece has appeal at 2′ in addition to 12′. The “highlight” chroma(s) seems to have worked also.
Still in love with burlap as a substrate. I’m also liking the narrow, portrait orientation that the dimensions of the material I have on hand lends itself to. Like many “studies” which sit around for a bit before I revisit them, this piece begins from the first image below in the context of above (particularly this piece).
Also found myself updating my game plan as the red captured my attention and the piece clearly didn’t need to follow my stated path above to be successful.
Avoiding painting right to the edge of the canvas has definitely become the new direction at this point, as well as creating drawings on acetate first and then projecting them. (I think) utilizing strips of tape to mask off grid lines is likely to feature heavily over the near term. Recycling/editing prior work will be a piece of this… piece as well (the first three images are elements of this piece which I will revisit in this newest one). In the end I took a turn away from the juxtaposition of purple, green and yellow so I’ll have to come back to that in another piece. I’m also continuing to find that how the edges around the “objects” are treated is crucial, and can be approached as a surface itself.
This one is based on the study in the first image, and is (sort of) a follow up to the last medium sized piece I did which, I think, demonstrates that stopping the compositions at the edge of the canvas is arbitrary and has a cropping effect that wasn’t adding to the work (and that conversely, a grouping of cubes/shapes implies dimension more strongly if you can see its outer “edge”). I did the composition drawing on a sheet of acetate so it could be oriented as it fit best (via projector) onto this piece of muslin, which will be the color of the grid lines. I am finding that I can still free-style drawings before starting to paint, giving myself the optionality to do some editing, and still have plenty of ability to make choices “in flight.”
As I was working on the final stages of this piece, I solicited some input from George McKim, who offered a few suggestions in the form of edits to the image I sent him (the first image below). I hadn’t really paid attention before then to how both of our drawing/compositional strategies often had cubes in common. I suggested that his edits made me think we should try to work through the process of collaborating, and so the piece below began, in my studio.