27 August 2010
today i finished the first color pattern in my "emperor waves" project. this is a photograph of the full sheet coverage. the image below shows the type of pattern that had to be copied.
i promptly discovered that i had to rule the sheet in a 1" grid in order to make any progress. that's 2430 square inches, if you're counting.
i also found that these forms, which are really fractal in structure, had a strongly stupefying effect on my hand eye skills. i had to break the shapes down into the outline landmark points, then connect these by landmark points, and so on down to the complete form. progress was very slow and incredibly fatiguing: my pace averaged about 3 of the 6" square blocks a day.
at that pace, i wouldn't finish the painting until next spring. but this red was difficult because it was laid on bare paper. the remaining colors are woven into and through the red, which acts as the trellis, so i'm expecting the work will go more quickly.
the insight i gleaned from this is that structures we are habituated to see as textures or patterns are extremely difficult to render as discrete forms. there is no dynamic gestalt, no holistic integration, the way there is to a tree or a human figure, nothing geometrical in the way of cezanne's cubes and cylinders and cones. instead there was an exasperating, nattering landscape of little turrets, boxes, squiggles and blotches, repeated over and over in different orientations, proportions, sizes, configurations. over and over and over.
not for the faint of hand.
this is the working setup. to protect the painting, the laptop with reference image rests on a large sheet of foam core, and i worked with my arms resting on a large piece of cardboard. the paint dishes are placed on a rimmed dish, to guard against accidental spills or drips. i learned not to work in a sweater, which left cashmere lint on the paper.
so ... next up is the pattern of gold figures, which will populate the bottom of the painting and thin out toward the top of the sheet, the spatial complement to the red. after that i lace in some dull yellow, and stitch together the reds with ultramarine violet. that fills out about half of the painting, and the remaining colors are largely ornamental.
Posted by Bruce at 12:46 AM