Saturday, December 7, 2013
#1310, 24"x 24", Ink and watercolor suspended in polyvinyl resin glue on cradled wood panel.
Another grid variation.
The Hex Grid (based on a hexagonal point configuration) allows a more dynamic arrangement for the individual cells while retaining the practical research value of the regular grid. It imparts the appearance of shifting movement and suggests more complex relationships between the cells, which now form implied vertical and diagonal associations. (Click on image to enlarge)
New possibilities are opening up.
By isolating a section of the hex grid I believe an entirely new entity may emerge.
Next - THE NUCLEOTIDE SEQUENCE
Monday, November 25, 2013
After testing a full grid of new formulas (#1301, previous post) my usual procedure is to weed out the weak results and replace them with new possibilities on another full grid. But an alternative priority entered my mind - - breaking the grid.
The grid is a function of the research process - - it allows orderly notation of the formulas for future reference. But it's also an essential element of the "meaning" of the work - - to lend a sense of order and rational categorization to a mysterious phenomenon (the self-determined expansion of the materials from the center of each liquid cell). A balance of order and chaos.
But the rigid square grid offers few possibilities for variation. Or does it?
The idea that came to me here was to simply subtract the less desirable formulas leaving arbitrary openings on the glue-bed surface. A vestige of the research grid remains intact but a new compositional balance emerges with variations that allow more complex relationships between the cells. Breathing room.
In what other ways can I break out of the square grid?
Next - The Hex Grid
Monday, November 18, 2013
After hundreds of tests of new color combinations, the 49 most promising formulas were selected for the first "acid test" - application on a permanent glue bed. This piece will serve as a reference for the rest of the season, and will tell me whether more testing is necessary. Lackluster formulas will be weeded out and replaced, and under-represented hues will be noted and their number expanded through further testing.
There are promising results here. I like the variety of patterns - some scattered, some structured; some diffused, some dense. There's an overall impression of opening and closing across the grid, lending it a sequential feeling of animation and moving the eye. (click on image to enlarge)
I've already decided my modus operandi this season will be to let each piece suggest the next. This is the starting point.
Next - "Subtraction"
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
These are but a few examples of the surprises I find as I begin the season by testing new color media for my process - not by "pushing them around" (as artists are wont to do), but by gently introducing them to the center of a free liquid environment where they are allowed to expand according to their own self-determination.
They are pictured here in their liquid state; still in the process of expanding - a view that only I am usually privileged to see - before they dry and leave a permanent record of their mysterious and profound endeavor.
(Please click on the image to expand it for a detailed view.)
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Annual end-of-season studio photo, 2012.
35 multi-event paintings completed, ranging in size from 8" x 8" to 36" x 36".
About 200 single-event pieces completed as well, 3.5" square each.
Many still available through Fresh Paint Art in Culver City, CA and Studio One-11 in Palm Springs CA.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Creating an arrangement of only 4 events is one of the most difficult compositional challenges since the relationship between them is so crucial. I'm especially fond of this one because of the dynamic color and pattern variety.
I often give pieces unofficial nicknames if they pop into my mind as I view them. In this case, "SCI-FI" seemed appropriate. It evokes something fantastic yet succinct - supernovas, moons, exploration - a universe in a small package.
Every season I try to keep a piece for myself that I especially enjoy because it sums up the innovations of the season and inspires future possibilities.
This is the "Keeper" of 2012.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
You may notice this piece looks a little different. It represents what I consider to be a late-season breakthrough. Let me explain.
Making these things is mostly hard work involving intense concentration. The pleasure comes from looking at them afterward. And I look at them alot, sometimes with a very critical eye.
Late this season I became concerned about how, when viewed close-up, the individual expansion events look spectacular - but when viewed from far across the studio many just looked like filled-in dots of color (the events that expand all the way to the edge of the glue pool, what I call "fills").
To me, the events that remained distinctive shapes within the glue pool looked more interesting and dynamic from a distance. This seemed even more obvious to me when a studio visitor commented on the same thing (thanks, Vic).
So I resolved to try creating a piece composed entirely of "non-fills" - formulas known to retain distinctive shapes within their pools.
This piece represents the first attempt and may serve as a starting point when work resumes in Spring of 2013.
Currently in my possession for the pleasure of continual gazing.
Friday, March 22, 2013
This piece is a kind of time capsule of 2012. It compiles all 77 (!) new formulas of the 2012 season in order of discovery (from upper left to lower right). Click on the image to see it larger.
A personal favorite. A diary of sorts.
At Studio One 11, Palm Springs.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
This is a greatly expanded version of the King's Court Strategy (see previous "King's Court Strategy" post for the smaller study and a detailed description of how the strategy functions).
The second of only two 36" x 36" pieces attempted during the 2012 glue season. Pieces this large represent alot of labor and material costs and are usually only created by request or commission. Or to test a pet strategy.
Click on the image to enlarge.
As of this writing, this piece is available through Fresh Paint Art, Culver City, CA.
Friday, March 8, 2013
The expansion event above is a good example of what can happen on a perfect day - or more specifically - a perfect moment in the studio: a perfect expansion.
Since my studio is an uninsulated barn-like space it is very much in communication with the weather environment outside. During the warm months of glue season I have to initiate expansion events (drop color) during the early morning hours when conditions are the most balanced and temperate - "just right". But even in this window of time, there are better days than others. Sometimes it's too dry or too humid, sometimes the barometric pressure too low. Many factors come into play.
But when conditions are especially optimal I can feel it. It feels comfortable to me. Pleasant. And what I've discovered is that the glue medium is sympathetic to the same environmental influences. In other words, when conditions are such that i feel good the glue "feels" good too. Because we both share the same liquid density? I don't really know.
All I know is that the pool will be a benign and receptive environment for the color formulas. The expansion will be gradual, full, and smooth with all the graceful flourishes the formula can provide.
Glue is without a doubt the most sensitive and sympathetic material I've ever worked with. Kind of mysterious in that way. Probably the reason I'm still exploring its properties 20 years on...
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
First large 36" x 36" painting of the season. If you know something about the difficulties of my working process then you can understand the apprehension I feel as I begin a project of this magnitude. The larger the working surface, the higher the risk - from laying down the successive layers of the glue bed to dropping the expansion events.
I take a deep breath and begin with a single drop in the center and work my way out over a period of several days - slowly, methodically, carefully. And between drops I breathe.
Planning the piece is a lengthy process in itself involving hand-drawn grids, scrawled formula numbers, and meticulous color drawings - which can take weeks to evolve.
THE PLAN -
A symmetrical arrangement of formulas, 4 identical quadrants mirrored. Neutral greys and blacks in the central crux. Dominant hues in horizontal rows gradually shift from warm purple/violets near the center to red, orange-yellow, green and finally cool blues at top and bottom.
All but the single central formula are repeated four times, giving ample oppurtunity to compare the subtle variations of each expansion.
Click to enlarge and see in greater detail.
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Back to basics - a feeling that all is right with the world, that simplicity is real and within me, that all is in order and the center is secure.
As an artist friend once said to me, "Simplicity is bliss."
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
Consisting of two
Involving a relationship between two alternatives
A whole composed of two
A set of three panels side by side bearing pictures or the like
Each module of this triptych is composed of two color sets - the first set being two vertical rows on the left in which dominant hues are arranged in a consecutive order. The dominant hues are repeated in the second two rows with different formulas to make an alternate pair.
This strategy allows for maximum optical variety while setting up a resonance between the pairs that unifies the individual modules and sets up a rhythm carrying through the triptych as a whole.
(Click on the image to enlarge.)
Complicated to explain; and that's why i suppose they say a picture is worth quite a few words....
As of this writing, this set of paintings is available through Fresh Paint Art in Culver City, CA.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The King's Court Strategy places the lightest hue (yellow) at the center of the grid surrounded by four symmetrical (mirrored) quadrants of attendant color formulas.
In the overall composition the hues also progress from the center outward both in value (light to dark) and in temperature (warm to cool).
The fact that the individual formulas are the same within each quadrant allows the viewer to compare the variations identical formulas can produce. They are the same but not the same. They are the offspring of identical parents but grow in their own way and establish their own sibling identities.
A study for a much larger work yet to come.
As of this writing, this piece is available through Fresh Paint Art, Culver City, CA.
Next post: What the hell is a BINARY TRIPTYCH??
Friday, February 1, 2013
It appears simple enough - minimal and austere, even. Yet it's taken years of testing and research just to get this tiny variety of successful black formulas - they've remained the most elusive.
I've always hoped to eventually produce an all-black piece like this because of its elegant graphic quality and the emphasis it places on pattern rather than color - a switch from my usual work where color dominates.
Though modest in scale and discrete in its allure, it is a key work and something of a milestone in my repertoire. And so far, unique.
As of this writing, this piece is available through The Red Arrow Gallery in Joshua Tree, CA.
Next post: The King's Court Strategy....
Friday, January 25, 2013
By arranging individual expansion-event pieces (see previous post) I arrived at a possible combination of effects as different from each other as they could be in both color and pattern. The next step is creating the actual piece, and this takes the endeavor to a new level of difficulty.
Making a multi-event glue painting like this is a complex process that tests my skill, nerves, and luck simultaneously. It is in many ways a "performance" that must take place within a limited window of time and must be executed flawlessly since the process is not correctable due to the translucency of the surface (I really have to enter a certain mental zone, like an athlete, when i begin).
The formulas have known characteristics but are not 100% predictable in the way will behave once they begin to expand. Even if the drops of color media are skillfully combined in a central pinpoint of their circular pools, all environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, atmospheric pessure, etc.) must be optimal for their flowering to be fortuitous.
It will be many hours until the results are known (they continue expanding for hours), in which time all i can do is hope for the best.
When the final result is as attractive as the example above, I'm not only relieved, but thankful and amazed.
As of this writing, the painting pictured above is available through The Red Arrow Gallery in Joshua Tree, CA.
Next post: The ALL-BLACK - - most research-intensive project of them all.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Since each "expansion event" is the result of two "parent" drops of color media being combined in a liquid "womb" to produce a unique offspring, it's fitting that they should be allowed their own individual existence as separate entities. Thus "single-event" glue paintings are born.
Soon after the most promising formula tests are compiled (see previous post for one example) I begin creating single expansion-event paintings on 3.5" square blocks of wood. Besides the focus it allows the product of each formula, the modular nature of each block allows me to utilize them in planning larger multi-event pieces by arranging them in various combinations on my work table and noting formula numbers within grids. This is where research meets design.
Next Post - the fruits of this endeavor.....