The Flying Triangle

Ancient Cuneiform depended the incisions of little “v” corners, modified triangles pressed into clay.  In art the triangle is fundamental.  It can be foreshortened, extended, overlapped, made to appear ascending or descending or turning.  Example one presents a series of diagrams illustrating these different systems for building space using the triangle.

Example 1.  Triangle Diagrams,

My first triangle demonstration addresses an aerial view of NYC along with its respective diagram (examples 3 and 4). The triangle drives toward the beholder but, appears to slide under the beholder’s vantage point.  I exaggerated the effect by squeezing the triangular image into a tight square.  You see how I reconstructed the image by looking at the original unedited photo (example 2). In the diagram (example 3) I demonstrate two-point perspective with the vanishing points set on the far right and far left on the eye level. Their two respective receding triangles leave an advancing triangle (in red) in the center.

Example 2. Original unedited photo.

Example 2. Diagram for painting.

Example 3. Painting of NYC from an aerial perspective.

A more straightforward single point perspective design can be seen in examples 4 and 5. The image derived from the observation deck at Rockefeller Center looking north to Central Park. Example 4 presents a triangle whose recessional lines converge on the eyelevel horizon at a central vanishing point.  This creates a feeling of movement which helps to give movement to the overly rigid linear perspective grid. The painted example uses a mix of vanishing points which all roughly gather around the central vanishing point.  The beholder has  a vantage point about 60 stories above Manhattan looking north to Central Park with the Hudson River on our left.

Example 4.  Triangle diagram with single vanishing point.

Example 6. Painting with many slightly askew variations on the single vanishing point.

Like Example 2, Examples 7 and 8 use a two point perspective system. One is far left and the other is farther right.  The difference is, here you can see lines above the eyelevel which descend to the far right vanishing point.  These lines indicate the location of building lines. The crosswalk lines are indicated in red. The painting (example 8) is still underway.

Example 7. The diagram with ascending and descending recessional lines.

Example 8. The painting, a street scene.

The next examples (9, 10 and 11) add some new complications. In the diagram we see three vanishing points. The principle vanishing point controls the direction of the primary triangle (representing ascending sea grasses). But, these sea grasses level off and turn to the left. They are illustrated with red lines in the diagram.  In the original photo there is no clear descending triangle above the horizon. I applied  this above the eyelevel to the diagram.  It solved a problem for me. I needed to have beholder see into infinite space so; I created the triangle above the eyelevel with its viewing notch of the distant water. Example 11 presents the painting, a 36×48” image on brushed silver enameled laminated aluminum.

Example 9, original photo without distant viewing notch.

Example 10. Diagram.

Example 11.  Painting of ascending, turning sea grass with distant viewing notch.

Lastly, is a bridge and canal painting in examples 12 and 13.  The underside of the bridge has recessional lines that converge down into a triangle. The pylons supporting the bridge converge to the far right creating a series of right-flanked triangles with the exception of the wall on the far right.  There we see the left flank of the supporting structure.  The colors are set in  both high value and color contrasts.  Shapes slightly overlap and appear to vibrate ( a surrogate for our  parallax stereoptic vision).  Apart from the structural design I enjoyed painting the industrial surfaces and the textured vibrating watery surface.

Example 12. Diagram of Bridge and Canal image.

Example 13. Painting, Bridges and Canals, 24×48, on enameled aluminum,

I invite you to join me this April 20-23, 2017 (Thursday through Sunday) the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach sponsors of workshop with me; two days on location and two days in the studio. Call Sara Bass at 904-280-0614 x 204 or register at www.ccpvb.org/programs/adult/adult-workshops .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beneath The Surface

Using older paintings or photographs as substrates for later over-painting offers the artist a grab-bag of surprises. Because water’s translucence automatically provides the feeling of an inscrutably mysterious and enigmatic world just out of reach of easy legibility it is ripe for using substrates like old paintings or photos.

Here are a few examples. The first uses mixed-media beginning with a substrate of photography then I apply an overlay of oil paint introducing an entirely new subject.  Example one begins with a close-up photo of a pond. This image gets overpainted as you see in example 2, step two.  I then wipe away some of the overlaying paint to reveal some colors and textures of the photograph beneath. The final image is an amalgam of both images but, its subject is clearly the overlaying marsh.

Example 1.  Pond Photograph 13×13,

Example 2. Step two,  mid-painting of the overlaying marsh,

Example 3. Step Three, Present state,

This process works equally well using an older painting with a vivid set of colors and complexity of forms  as the substrate (example 4, 24×24”). This older painting is then covered with paint with the intention of describing a lakeshore image. Next, I delete selected areas of the overlaying paint to reveal the vivid complementary colors and patterns of the older painting beneath (example 5).

Example 4. Step one, the older painting to serve as a substrate,

Example 5. Step two, present state of the new overlaying image,  

The gradual evolution of a painting can also exploit earlier iterations of an image as changes are superimposed on it.  Example 6 (36×36”) presents the earlier iteration of the painting.  I determined the image was too quiet and lacked sufficient contrast.  This  sparked the added layers of changes you see in example 7.

Example 6.  Early stage or step one,

Example 7.  Present state of the image.

 

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Rotation, Contours and Space

“One realizes that symmetry and consistency, whatever their merits are the enemy of movement” said Kenneth Clark in his BBC series, “Civilization”.  But, just avoiding symmetry and consistency does not evoke a feeling of movement.  Using the diagram in example 1 we can demonstrate how a shape may inhibit or promote a feeling of movement. In this case I present conditions for recognizing a rolling movement.  Landscape painters have applied these principles to hills, rocks and swales. I will be applying them to shoreline sea grasses or, in colonial times what was known as salt hay, a harvestable crop.

While the example is largely self-explanatory I begin with a pan cultural and pan historic image, the iconic sunburst.  Once the radians are separated from the central disc it begins to pulse or radiate and, once the arms or radians are curved as well as detached the disc suggests rotation. If that disc is slightly turned or pivoted we see an elliptical figure.  This foreshortened effect suggests a figure with three dimensional space.  If the radians and the disc are described as with illusory thickness then the feeling of rotation in space is strengthened.

The final figure in the diagram shows bands of the rotating arms set side by side with diminishing rows stacked on top.  The feeling suggests a contoured surface rolling forward and back in space.

Example 1. Diagram.

The fun lies in applying the principle to a subject area such as shore grass which you see in example 2. The consistency of the diagram is thwarted by overlapping tangled strands rather lining them all neatly side by side.  The tangle of overlapping strands which swell in size as they advance and diminish as they retreat give a more layered and textured surface to the form.  By undermining consistency a more dynamic form is created.

Example 2.

Using  a chorus  of undulating and waving strands as demonstrated in my diagram has been a strategy of adventurous artists like Van Gogh (examples 3 and 4) and Renoir (example 5). Each knew that a unified but, not quite consistent  wave patterns would invest more motion in their work.

Example 3. Van Gogh preparatory drawing.

Example 4. Van Gogh painting of fields behind St. Paul De Mausole, 1889.

Example 5. Renoir, painting along the Seine near Champrosay, 1873.

Using the same principle but, with other interval variations and the introduction of other shapes like large triangles I developed examples 5 and 6. Example 5 separates the rolls with intermediate spaces (blue water).  Example 6 will be preceded by its first step, the initial laying in of the contour patterns (example 6a).  Example 6 presents more variety in (less consistency) in the arrangement of the sea grass strands.

Example 5. Present state of this image, “rolling sequence” 36×48.

Example 6a. Step one of “Fallen Sea Grass”.

Example 6. Step two and present state of “Fallen Sea Grass”.

Example 7. presents the current state of “relaxed sea Grass”. This image wheels sideways as it slowly turns back into distant space.  The flat blue (water)  intervals on the left diminish in thickness in the distance. The sea grass strands wheel parallel with the ground plane as they turn toward and away from the beholder.  Examples 6 and 7 are both painted on brushed silver enameled laminated aluminum. The reflectance and colors of the image depend upon the viewpoint of the beholder. This cannot be demonstrated in a single photo of the painting but occurs as you shift your weight when looking at the image.

Example 7. Present state of ‘Relaxed Sea Grass”.

I invite you to join me in a two day workshop at the West Hartford Art League on January 14 and 15, 2017.  The Workshop is:”Techniques of the Masters, Past and Present”. Visit their website westhartfordart.org or call 860 231 8019.

 

 

 

 

 

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Next Steps

Here are examples of the proposition that no picture is ever finished.  I previously posted most of these images in their earlier incarnations. Now, you can compare the previous with the present.  These paintings have been distracting me in my studio this past month.

First, here is a recent painting of the vista from Rockefeller Center. Example one is the before and example two is the after. I wanted to push the color contrast and the feeling of atmosphere in the after image.

Example 1. Roc Center Vista before.
dec1626rock-centerstep-one

Example 2. Roc Center Vista after.
dec1626roc-center-step-twoalt

Next, is a before and after (examples 3 and 4) of a bridges painting which I built up with successive overlays. In the before example the image canted too awkwardly to the right and lacked sufficient color contrast.

Example 3. Bridges before.
dec1612update-on-milwuakee-canal-and-bridges36x36

Example 4. Bridges after.
dec1626milwaukee-bridgesstep-two-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum36x36

My third comparison has a twist (examples 5 and 6).  The previous image is a study 24×24 for a later version which is 36×36. I had posted the 24×24. Here I invested Times Square with a forested plaza. I previously noted parallels with Stieglitz’s photo of the Flat Iron building and other artists’ works.  In the after image I departed further from those parallels. Again, I wished to push the contrasts and introduce some semi-opaque glazing for atmospheric effects.

Example 5, the study, 24×24.
dec1626times-square-forested-step-one

Example 6, the following  36×36.
dec1626times-square-forested-oilon-enameled-laminated-aluminum-36x36

 

A new theme for me this fall was to visually climb inside meadow plants like wild grape or porcelain berry.  This image also received additional selective blue glazing as you can see. (Examples 9 and 10)

Example 9. Porcelain berry, before.
dec1626meadow-porcelain-berries-deep-space-step-one-24x24

Example 10. Porcelain berry, after.
dec1626meadowporcelain-berries-and-deep-spacestep-two-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

 

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Evolution of the Elevated View

As cities rose in density and prosperity so did the market for images city life.  Ancient Rome was the first to live in cramped 5 and 6 story buildings. Roman artists obliged their market with micro-mosaics and frescos of  Roman urban architecture.  The point of view of the artist rose with the buildings in an effort to depict the extent of urban architecture.  Within 1000 years Chinese artists followed suit with elevated perspectives of their cities. Ruins of the ancient Roman six story highrise can be visited in Ostia Antica today (Near Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, Rome).

As the height of Roman buildings grew so did the artists access to  elevated observation posts within the city (example 1). In earlier blogposts I previously neglected some of this history.  Artists came to painting elevated city views over time. It is a learned tradition with learned skills and, it is an evolving tradition. Its evolution interests me here.

Example 1. Detail from Roman wall painting.
dec1612boscorealeroman1stcent-c-e-wallptg

If we race forward into the 1600s we find Jacob Van Ruisdael climbing windmills and clock towers to find his new observation post (example 2).  By the 1600s artists employed not only the principles of linear perspective but optical machines like the camera obscura as well to help them make more natural  images.  His contemporary Jan Vermeer gives an example in his view of Delft (example3).

Example 2. Jacob Van Ruisdael view of Amsterdam.
dec1612jacob-van-ruisdael-jacob-view-of-amsterdam

Example 3. Jan Vermeer view of Delft.
dec1612vermeer-landscape-view-of-delft

In the late 19th century Pissarro’s view over the avenues of Paris gave a more sensuous  effect. Now, the enumerated buildings and other details were of less interest than a momentary experience of colored atmospherics (example 4)

Example 4. Pissarro view of Paris.
dec1612pissaro-camille-from-his-paris-windowfull-image

Throughout the 20th century modernists would look up and down at their urban settings.  Georgia O’Keeffe painted elevated views of New York from her high rise apartment.  This distillation and graphic simplification became part of the new fashions and goals for modern artists like O’Keeffe. (Example 5)

Example 5. O’Keeffe view from her NYC apartment.
dec1612okeeffeeast-river-view-from-georgias-33-flr-hotel-win

Matisse and others would continue to abstract the city from an elevated point of view. By the mid20th century through today artists like Richard Diebenkorn and Wayne Thiebaud experimented  with abstracting, exaggerating and distilling the city from an elevated point of view (example 6).

Example 6. Thiebaud’s Big Condominium from 2008.
dec1612thiebaudwaynebig-condominium2008

Last week I gave an example of an elevated and semi-abstracted view of Milwaukee.  I return to a similar theme today with an image which is in its beginning stage (example 7).  Next, I moved my venue to the top of Rockefeller Center looking south over Manhattan.  With a set of squeegees and brushes I conjured the intense crowding of forms and edges I experienced as I looked down and across Manhattan. This image is also in a preliminary stage.

Example 7. Milwaukee, looking South Along Michigan to Chicago (present state).
dec1612view-to-chicago-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum2nd-step

Example 8. Looking South from Roc Center, oil on enameled laminated aluminum, 36×36, present state.
dec1612cityroc-center-vista-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum36x36

Because I often present images in earlier stages of development I now can offer you an updated image along with its previous appearance (examples 9 and 10).

Example 9.  Bridges in earlier presentation.
nov1621bridges-step-four

Example 10. Bridges as updated.
dec1612update-on-milwuakee-canal-and-bridges36x36

I invite you to join me in a two day workshop at the West Hartford Art League  on January 14 and 15, 2017.  The Workshop is: ”Techniques of the Masters, Past and Present”. Visit their website westhartfordart.org or call 860 231 8019.

Please join me in my classes at the Silvermine School of Art. Registration for the winter semester (Mid January through March) begins Wednesday, December 14th at 9 AM.  Call the school at 203 966 6668 ext 2 to register. I look forward to working with you. Note, that I previously and incorrectly stated that registration began on December15; my apologies.

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Under Construction

Artists’ fascination depicting the dynamics of intersecting angles in architecture extends from ancient Rome through today. In the 18th and 19th centuries artists visited a pre-selected set of classical sites celebrated for their historic ruins. In the 18th century Piranesi grew so intoxicated with the inventive possibilities derived from linear perspective and these historic ruins that he created a category of architectural prints he called “invenzione”.  Example 1 demonstrates how he exploited linear perspective’s possibilities through invented architecture.

Example 1. Piranesi, Carceri (prisons).
dec165piranesicarceriinvenzioni

The tradition continued into the 19th century as artists made plein air oil and watercolor sketches of historic ruins such as Jorgen Roed’s 1838 rendering of the temple of Poseidon at Paestum.  Observe the multiple converging diagonals.

Example 2. Jorgen Roed, temple of Poseidon, 1838.
dec16519th-cent1838danishjorgen-roedpaestumtemple-of-poseidon

In the Early 19th Century American Ash Can artists like George Bellows revealed their fascination with urban architecture that was both in decline and deconstruction as well as projects which were under-construction.  Examples 3 and 4 present designs of Bellows which were framed under receding bridges.

Example 3. Bellows, Bridge and Blackwell’s Island, 1909.
dec165bellows-georgethe-bridge-blackwells-island1909

Example 4. Bellows, the Lone Tenement, 1909.
dec165bellowsgeorgelone-tenement1909

While Bellows explored his urban constructions Egon Schiele in Vienna was investigating the architectural rhythms of his neighborhoods.   He found a dramatic tension between the exploding expulsion of water versus the uncertain geometric construction of an old mill (example 5).

Example 5. Egon Schiele.
dec165schieleegon-mill1916perhaps

Chasing the inventive architectural themes of Piranesi but, using comic-book styled exaggerations of perspective, and layered imagery I offer examples 6, 7 and 8.

Example 8 continues my examination of the architecture and  the horizon of Milwaukee.  I conflated several similar views of Milwaukee to cook up example 6. Notice the dark blue triangle framing the left side while a spike of complementary orange secures the right side of the image.

Example 8. Milwaukee Skyline Confusion, oil on enameled aluminum, 36×36.
dec165milwaukee-skyline-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum-36x36

Examples 10 and 11 follow the theme of traveling under bridgework. Like Piranesi’s Carceri I  invented my architecture.  I did this with a variety of locations, combined into one then, added further gestures and geometric intersections.

Example 10, West Side Glass and Steel, oil on enameled aluminum, step one.
dec165cityshnippers-and-nyt-step-one

Example 10a. West Side Glass and Steel, step two.
dec165cityschnippers-and-the-nyt-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Example 11. Port Authority Labyrinth, present state.
dec165cityport-authority-labyrinth-36x36-oil-on-enameled-laminanted-aluminum

Using the principles of interlocking shapes, geometric tension, and complementary color I developed example 12, a landscape.  Notice the off-centered bright pink square serving as a bright squared key geometrically anchoring the composition.

Example 12, Audubon Preserve lake, oil on enameled aluminum, 36×36.
dec165shoreline-audubon-lake-oil-on-eenameled-aluminum36x36

I invite you to join me in a two day workshop at the West Hartford Art League  on January 14 and 15, 2017.  The Workshop is: ”Techniques of the Masters, Past and Present”. Visit their website westhartfordart.org or call 860 231 8019.

Please join me in my classes at the Silvermine School of Art. Registration for the winter semester (Mid January through March) begins on December 15th.  Call the school at 203 966 6668 ext 2 to register. I look forward to working with you.

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Trading Places, Near & Far

Illusion in painting depends upon exploiting the visual experience of the artist and the beholder.  An object appears near when blocking the view of a similar smaller object.   This triggers the perception of here and there; near and far.  A subtler question is: Can those objects alternate their location?  Yes, and here is how we exploit not only near and far percepts but also, how we can construe a selected area in a painting to occupy an alternating position of being at one moment near and in the next, far.

Here is a semi-abstracted landscape by Martha Armstrong from 1997 (example one). At first glance we read the map of the painting which suggests that the spaces between the trees are sky shapes. But, because the tree shapes and the sky shapes are so similar we can reconstruct the image to see the sky shapes as light and the tree shapes as dark.  Then the sky shapes can appear to move forward along-side or even in front of the tree shapes.

Example 1. Martha Armstrong.
nov1628american20th-cent-late1997-martha-armstrong

In example 2 we see Joshua Adams painting which presents us with variably sized rocks on the shore.  We know the larger rocks appear closer to us because the sensation is consonant with our experience of perspective but, we can also accept anomalies. For example some of Adams’ rocks in the distance are anomalies in scale. Some of his rocks in the distance are substantially bigger than their adjacent companions but, because they are numerically anomalous (there are fewer of them) we accept that these rocks are big but, distant.

We have other signs distant rocks. The distant big rocks have less surface texture. They are overlapped by foreground information. They are situated higher in the picture plane and, their color variation is not as pronounced as nearby rocks. The perception of near and far can be triggered by a combination of visual devices.

Example 2. Joshua Adams, Lake Tahoe.
nov1628american-20th-centlate-1994joshua-adams-lake-tahoe

My shoreline rocks painting  is presented in steps one and two (examples 3 and 4).  Here the demonstration of near and far is compressed and exaggerated.  The bigger foreground rocks are quickly contrasted with a series of much smaller background shapes which quickly dissolve into uncertain forms curving into the distance. The only clue to the rocky identity of the distant rocks is that  they are blended and share a collective outline with a soft-focused saw-toothed irregularity. Furthermore, the distant rocks have less color variety and intensity which are two more perceptual cues that suggest distance.

Example 3. Step one of the Shoreline Rocks.
nov1628shoreline-rolling-rock-step-one24x24

Example 4. Step Two of the Shoreline Rocks.
nov1628shoreline-rolling-rock-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

With special emphasis on the chromatic strength of foreground elements and foreground color contrasts artists can stimulate a sensation of greater immanence especially, when the background is allowed to fade dramatically in color as well as serve as toward a pale complement the preceding area. Notice that the foreground (in example 5) relies on high value and  high color contrast while the background recedes as a pale gray-violet  resting above the yellow field.

Example 5.  Painting on brushed silver enameled laminated aluminum, 24×48.
nov1628audubon-preserve-lake-oil-on-brushed-silver-laminated-aluminum24x48

Color and value can alone trigger a feeling of proximity. In example 6  observe how the hotter contrasting colors feel close-by while the distance is relegated to varying values of blue until we get to the sky territory whose pink atmosphere swallows the edge of the horizon.

Example 6. Waves, oil on brushed silver laminated aluminum, 24×24.
nov1628shoreline-spotlights-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Example 7. presents an image with an extremely compressed foreground (near) area while only suggesting a distance (far)  through the use of a high horizon and a few flecks of yellow interrupting the curtain of foreground grasses. This is the first step of this painting.

Example 7. Meadow Grass, oil on brushed silver laminated aluminum, 24×24.
nov1628-randalls-farm-meadow-early-stages-24x48

To compress the foreground even more forcefully against the picture plane I offer example 8.  Here the colors are intercut and interlaced with competing shapes. The effect is closer to fractured stained glass than flora.  The interstitial blue colored shapes can appear to jump from background to foreground.

Example 8.
nov1628forest-gardenstep-three-natural-stained-glass-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

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Bridges and Crossings

Arches, Passages, Portals and Bridges demonstrate and celebrate our greatest achievements in engineering and act as architectural protagonists in paintings.  They appear as commemorative monuments in the form of triumphal arches and spanning bridges. Artists used this celebration of bridges in their explorations of expressive perspectives.

For examples I begin in the mid-18th century with Canaletto.  While visiting London to satisfy a demand for commissions of his work he found the bridges over the Thames to be a suitably grandiose subject.  In example 1 you see a demonstration of his perspective skill as he places the viewer beneath the arch of the bridge which acts as a window onto the landscape of London and the Thames.

Example 1.  Canaletto’s bridge, 1746-47.
nov1621canaletto-london-on-the-thames1746

Countless artists have exploited the metaphorical and geometric possibilities of bridges. In the late 20th century artists like Yvonne Jacquette and Wayne Thiebaud (example 2) played with aerial views of interweaving highway bridges.

Example 2. Wayne Thiebaud, late 1970s.
nov1621thiebaudwayne-highways-and-bridges-1979

Wandering along the canals of Milwaukee gave me a chance to build and rearrange a landscape of bridges. My approach starts with lots of photos which I then merged, layered, distorted and exaggerated in an effort to make an almost inscrutable matrix of bridge forms.  All these forms collided and mixed with one another. This process allowed me to generate a chaos of forms which I could easily invent and depart from.  The confusion of the photographic chaos encouraged me to invent other forms in paint in a similar fashion.

Here’s a quick illustration of that process. I begin with a photo which I cropped and squeezed (example 3).  Next, I merged that image with other similar views while simultaneously exaggerating color, contrast and the forms (example 4). Then, I began the painting process feeling liberated from any notion of transcribing or copying the photo. Example 5 is step one of two. Example 6 is the second step with the painting.

Example 3.  Photo after some adjustments.
nov1621bridges-2ab
Example 4. Photo after layering and more adjustments.
nov1621water-street-canal-bridges1layered-copy-2

Example 5. Step one of Yellow and Blue.
nov1621bridges-in-yellow-and-bluestepone

Example 6. Step two, present state of Yellow and Blue Bridges.
nov1621bridges-in-yellow-and-bluesteptwo

In addition to the photo distortions acting as a muse I tried painting over old paintings incorporating some of their colors and forms into my bridge building.
Example 7 is the image I chose to over-paint.  It had too many shortcomings for me to want to continue with it. Example 8 represents an early stage in the process.  You can see how colors and textures of the substrate image are revealed and harvested in the example 9. Example 9 represents the image in its present state.

Example 7.  Image to be over-painted.
nov1621bridges-step-two

 

Example 8. Early stage in painting.
nov1621bridges-step-three

Example 9. Present state.
nov1621milwaukee-canal-bridges-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum36x36

Examples 10 and 11 were stimulated by not only the effects of Photoshop distortions but, physical (cut and paste) collage work as well.  Here, examples 9 and 10 present only the later painting portion of the process.

Example 10.  Step one of Stepped Bridges.
nov1621bridges-and-canal-step-one

Example 11.  Step two of Stepped Bridges, present state.
nov1621stepped-bridges-24x24-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-laminated-alum24x24

 

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Nets, Curves and Rectangles

Nets offer the gift of the veil with its the fog of mystery.  Nets offer enchantment by preventing full disclosure. The bride hides and hints at her beauty behind it.  We conversationally refer to the veil of mystery not, the blanket. Netting is curvaceous, flexible, and capable of motion and suggesting of form.  On the contrary, rectilinear forms are perceived as static, firm, and inorganic.

To invest an image with both rectilinear imagery versus fluid imagery as well as the tension between opacity versus semi-transparency  generates a feeling amplifying both qualities. Their contrasting qualities magnify one another. This phenomena of perceived contrast as the amplifier of experience holds true throughout the scope of human perception whether with color, value, size, or texture.

The rectilinear can be presented subtly, through fractured and blurred horizontals and verticals. Rigid horizontals and verticals can mutate into curves or, stand in contrast to a meshy net of curves.  The netting  helps imply soft forms. The netting  offers the sensation of space through its perforations.  Andrew Wyeth caught this tension with static verticals versus the windswept translucence of netting in his “Pentecost” (example 1).  In 1920, Man Ray photographed this image he called “Moving Sculpture” which gives the fragile fluttering of fabric a feeling of movement held in check by steel girders (example2).  Teruhide Kato overlaid a veil of cherry blossoms over architectural forms ((example 3).

Example 1. Andrew Wyeth, egg tempera,
nov167wyeth-andrew-pentecost-tempera

Example 2, Man Ray, silver gelatin photo print,
nov167photography-man-ray-1920-moving-sculpture-gelatin-silver-print-6x8-inches-approx

Example 3, Teruhide Kato, woodblock, 1992,
nov167japan20th-cent-teruhide-kato-1992woodcutskyoto-romance

Layering photographs can create a feeling of natural netting with a capacity for motion as you see in examples 4 and 5.

Example 4. Leaves float in layers, Photo.
nov167devils-den-oct302a

Example 5, Layers of grass float as a net on and in water, Photo.
nov167devils-den-nov1

While wandering through a Connecticut meadow I found a tumble of felled grasses. Their piling created the feeling of an armature for some invisible form beneath.  I present steps one and two of this image in examples 6 and 7.

Example 6. Step one, oil on brushed silver enameled laminated aluminum, Omegabond.
nov167meadowfabric-of-autumn-step-1-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-aluminum24x24

Example 7. Step two, of the meadow grasses.
nov167meadowfabric-of-autumn-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-aluminum24x24

Neil Welliver’s study for a beaver lodge demonstrates a fractured net of  verticals can be composed into a soft form.  His structure makes an easy comparison with my example 7. Welliver’s use of contrasting verticals (trees) help to unify the image with a strong feeling of contrast.  See example  7a.

example 7a. Neil Welliver beaver lodge study.
nov167american-20th-cent-late-neil-welliver-beaver-dam-study

In example 8 observe the contrast of example 7’s soft grass built forms  against this rectilinear matrix which feels architectural. This example was presented in a previous blogpost but, this image demonstrates  later revisions and additions.

Example 8, Urban Matrix, oil.
nov167city-midtown-matrix-oilon-enameled-laminated-aluminum-24x24

Step-by-step image sequences can reveal how images are built in layers. Here is a sequence which begins by layering different colors beginning with yellow (example 9) to reds and deep blue (example 10) to mixed pastels and texturing (example 11) to adding a net of small shapes  across the surface (example 12).

Example 9, step one, yellow.
nov167-step-1-autumn-backwater-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Example 10, step two, reds and deep blue.
nov167-step-2-autumn-backwater-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Example 11, step three, mixed pastels and texturing.
nov167-step-4-autumn-backwater-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

Example 12, step four, present state with net of small shapes.
nov167-step-5-autumn-backwater-oil-on-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

The final example presents fractured horizontals colliding and blending to create a vibration of motion coupled to a feeling of surface (example 13).

Example 13, Autumn Pool, oil, on enameled laminated aluminum24x24.
nov167stream-autumn-patches-oil-on-brushed-silver-enameled-laminated-aluminum24x24

A reminder: This week I have a series of workshops at Jerry’s Art of the Carolinas in Raleigh Durham, N.C.  From Friday November 11 through Sunday November 13th.   The Friday workshop, 9 am to 4 pm, “Painting Reflections in Glass, Water and Other Surfaces”. The Saturday workshop is also 9am to 4 pm “New Trends: Merging Paint the Digital Photography”. The Sunday workshop, 9 am to 4 pm “Abstracting Nature, from Meadows to Flora”.  To register call: 800 827 8478 ext 156.

This April 20-23, 2017 the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach sponsors of workshop with me; two days on location and two days in the studio. Call Sara Bass at 904-280-0614 x 204 or register at www.ccpvb.org/programs/adult/adult-workshops .

 

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