I finished the small scale sculpture The Visible and Invisible which was based on a gouache painting that I did earlier this year that deals with optical illusions. Like Valis and Tone Float before it, I painted the sides different shades of gray from Golden #5 to Golden #2. I used Golden #6 on the outer edges, thinking that if I ever exhibit the series I could put them on a surface painted with the same shade of grey thus making the edges invisible. The photo that I took shows the piece on my dining room table and it’s easy to see how horribly I painted it. I find that I’ve become less interested in pristine surfaces and was looking for something that was different from the series A Theory of Forms and Ideas in which the sculptures have a smooth finish to them. In the final photo the surface will most likely look less textured because the diffused light will eliminate the surfaces uneven shadows.
Last but not least is The Pleasure of Deceit.
Here are 2 small scale sculptures that I finished a couple of weeks ago. The top one is a sculptural version of Tone Float and the bottom one is a sculptural version of Valis. Both were made using the negative perspective of the image as a point of reference. I was going to spray paint them all black like Opposition and Sister Squares are Reconciled and A Theory of Forms and Ideas but decided that the negative space and the reflection of light on the surface created a bland difference between plains and also visually distorted the inner corners, making them lighter. This was the same problem that I had with Opposition and Sister Squares are Reconciled but I was originally hoping to end up with distinctly different shading on the sides of the final image like A Theory of Forms and Ideas. The difference is in how light reflects off of the surfaces and I have a feeling that the light becomes trapped in the negative space, creating dark corners while at the same time reflecting off of the plain that makes up the corner, creating a lighter plain that then makes the space around it look even darker. To combat this I decided to paint the surfaces different shades of gray, making what I thought would be the side with the most light the lightest shade and the side most likely to be in the shadow the darkest gray. I experimented with doing this the opposite way but didn’t like the way it looked. Another problem was the sides of the 1/8″ basswood which I decided to paint a similar shade as the gray paper that I use to photograph on, hoping that the sides would somewhat fade into the background. The edges were painted with Golden #6 and the sculptures were painted with #5, #4, #3.5 and #2 and then coated with Golden UVLS Matte spray varnish.
I still need to make The Pleasure of Deceit and The Visible and Invisible into small scale sculptures as well but haven’t had the time.
I finished The Visible and Invisible this week. This one took me about 3 weeks since I don’t really have long stretches of time anymore to work on art so I had to do it a bit at a time. I also photographed Valis and Tone Float. I don’t think that I’m going to make a smaller version of The Pleasure of Deceit.
I finally finished Useless Machine ll which uses 3 rings instead of Useless Machine which only uses one. It took a while to finish because I was having problems gluing the middle ring together. I originally had used a larger ring that I cut a section out of but it kept springing apart after gluing and clamping so I decided to use a smaller ring that I then added a section to; this was an easier method but created a slight flat spot. The rings also spent a lot of time in the bathroom with clamps on them so that the steam from the shower would shape them properly.
Here is a painting that I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks based on the Theory of Forms and Ideas Gouache Painting #18. Late last year I was asked to be part of an art organization that sells, commissions and rents out art work. There has been particular interest in the gouache paintings and was asked if I would consider making them bigger which I hesitatingly agreed to. I generally do not like to pollute the creative process with other peoples ideas but I find it necessary to explore other ways of making money besides handling art for museums. The original gouaches have a quality that is particular to both their size and the paper that they are made on and the thought of enlarging them ruins what was so nice about them. I decided to take the bull by the horns and make an example that employs the same techniques that I used to make Burning From the Inside and From Safety To Where…?.
I started by using one of the canvases that I had prepared for the last series that I had been working on that included Valis and Tone Float. I sketched the original plan onto the canvas and then painted the black areas using acrylic latex as a base color. Then I painted over the black acrylic latex with black non-acryla gouache and used FLP acrylic latex white for the back ground. I painted both the black and the white areas 3 times and also blended the edges to create a blurry and unfocused grey transitional space between the black and white areas.
I have to say I’m not super happy with the results and I don’t think that I’ll make any more until I hear something further about a commission.
I finished Valis the other day. This is a photograph of it in front of my fireplace. I’m going to wait to photograph it “professionally” until I’ve finished all 4 of the paintings so that they are photographed in the same light.
I finished the first new painting from the series based on the gouache on paper series that started with the painting The Pleasure of Deceit. For this painting I started by first building the panels using 1/4″ hardwood and 1″x3″‘s and then stretching canvas over them. After priming it I projected the original sketch onto the canvas to mark my corners and then finished drawing it in using a ruler and pencil. I made the lines 3/8″ thick to try and keep the proportions of the original gouache paintings correct; I don’t want the lines to be too thick or too chunky. After I finished with the drawing I painted the orange lines in using yellow (orange) gouache followed by gray acrylic latex paint. The grey paint is actually house paint left over from one of the walls in the house but the original can froze out in the garage this winter so hopefully this new can is close to the original. After the whole painting had been painted once I painted the orange lines again to fill in any left over white areas on the border where the grey and the orange meet. I then painted all of the grey again to try and flatten out the blotchiness of the surface and to continue straitening out the lines. After I finished the second coat of grey I used a sort of scumbling technique using a very coarse brush and a very thinned layer of grey paint to blend the edges around the orange lines. One of the nice things about the non-Acryla gouache paints is that they can be re-activated by adding water to them which makes them easy for blending. I’ve used this technique many times on other paintings like Burning From the Inside and From Safety To Where….? and prefer its blurry organic effect to my earlier hard-edged lines like those in Journey Into the Realm of Reason. The thing is, digitally the difference is mostly imperceivable but I’ll continue to do it anyway and hope that one day I’ll be able to actually exhibit them somewhere so that they can be viewed up close and personal. After scumbling all of my edges and retouching them I painted my last layer of orange and then repainted the grey a third time to really solidify it.
Here is a photo of the initial sketch on the canvas and the final painting leaned up against my fireplace. I’m going to wait until I’ve finished all 4 paintings before I try and photograph them professionally.
Over Christmas break I found some wooden embroidery frames that I thought I could use for the original idea for the Useless Machine sculpture. I had initially wanted 3 circles but thought that they would be impossible to make using the bent wood method that I was using at the time so I settled on having only one circle. I figured that with these wooden frames I could use 2 of the pre-existing circles as they were and make the third circle, the middle one, by splicing in an extra piece. Here’s a photo of the inner and outer circle painted and the middle one glued with a first coat of wood filler on it. Tomorrow I’ll sand it, wood fill it again, and then paint it.