Physicist, Lisa Randall, describes the condition of the universe just after the big bang as isotropic. Everything was the same in all directions and all places. Here is a metaphor for harmony for in painting; a surface with a uniformity of touch, unity in shapes, palette and values. Not everything the same but, everything apparently related and sharing resemblences.
Generating thematic unity within a painting allows the viewer to more easily fill in missing or suggested information. If the level of focus (edge acuity) is universally soft or, if the pattern of contrast between blurred edges and hard edges offers a feeling of continuity then, viewer participation will be intensified. The viewer can find a criterion for categorizing, for recognition. Whistler gives us a strong example (example 1) in his work.
This feeling of unity (harmony) extends through El Greco’s work as much as it does DeKooning’s abstract-expressionist paintings. We can discover a unified world, enjoy a unified experience because of their harmonies, harmonies of gesture, consistencies of exaggeration, harmonies of palette, harmonies of brushwork.
Applying harmonies determines the direction, emotional coherence, credibility, and persuasive identity of an image. In my paintings of the city spaces whether they are interiors like Grand Central Station or outside on the avenue I build a primary unified direction, a destination, a unified palette, a unified quality of resolution which graduates from near to far, and a unified sense of motion as you move through the space.
My first example is a waterscape (example 2) which failed to powerfully cohere so; I used it as a substrate for example 3. Notice how the light will continue to emanate from the upper right. Now the vortex of light is stronger and cohesively distributed. Figures diminish in size and edge acuity as they move into the distance.
I repeated this process with my next examples. Again, I found a waterscape (example 4) that lacked sufficient unifying harmony. I decided to use it as a substrate. This time I rotated the image to the left in order to exploit the sensation of light moving laterally across the image. Example 5 represents the result, a sense of lateral speed married to a vortex of receding space. The harmonies of touch are more apparent here where the blurred lateral gestures help reinforce the feeling of speed.
Example 6 begins with another substrate but, this substrate is a vinyl digital print (36×36) which I greatly altered in Photoshop. Next (example 7), I covered the vinyl print with 2 coats of polymer gloss varnish and proceeded to cover-up the digital print with oil paint. I then followed the paint.