Today the only work I got done was a single stroke to correct the floater's left elbow...tomorrow won't be much better either...:(
Interesting process this multibody composition that fuses under constant gaze into one huge abstract, each square inch requiring it's own approach and solution, a methodical ritualistic mantra one rediscovers and repeats until all somehow melds into a whole...I like to work around the canvas, it is so huge, zooming into a small area as if each were a painting in itself, and then moving to a neighboring bit of surface while the colors are still wet. Several of the bodies still need refining in the underlayer even though I do like the sort of unintelligeable (sp?) jumble of limbs that seem to be supporting the floater. I have started shooting photos, you can see a couple stuck in the upper canvas, so I am now staging poses and lighting and it's a lot of fun. Luckily I have a couple of excellent models lying around the house, so in the next couple of days I will have a few new images to work on...
hummingbird, 2010 (detail)
This image is all about the darkness of the figures in the foreground, vs the light that rains down from above. I must keep that in mind. It defines the composition, the distance between the viewer and the pictorial space, the plot, the weight of the bodies...everything. Her floatiness is in counterpoint to their solidity. I have added the drummer (minus the drum) to the right. I like his glasses and his upturned face and his gaunt body. Pouring the light onto him will be a challenge as his is not part of the original composition, as he looks on somewhat detached and guarded from behind his shades. Today I started adding the light. I used titanium, for maximum opaqueness, mixed it with the terre verte as I develop the verdaccio layer. I sort of attacked the smiling man, but I will go back and redo him, first with a verdaccio, and be patient about my progress. I find the verdaccio layer helps me define the bodies in a more substantial way, and that is useful. One step at a time. As I work each figure they acquire a role in the ensemble. Their form and their role come into being at the same time, and that cannot be rushed.
I have created two entries points into the picture, one emotional, in the manner of the man facing the viewer. This smiling face and downward gaze and open body invite the viewer in. Another opening is a figurative opening between the muscle man's back and the drummer. Yes, the female figure (which I call Eve, as she walks away repentant cast out of eden) fills the space but not before allowing an entrance into the pictorial space.
By the way, if you are wondering what the swirlies are at the top...over the last three days a humming bird has flown into my studio, doing a few loops and turns and then gratefully exiting through the window that I open for it. At first I was terrified by its buglike buziness and nosedives, but now I look forward to the visits. I record its trajectories in the space above. I love that.
hovering - the underpainting
Ok, so here is a new image. It is immense, 100x160 cm canvas, and what I have so far is a raw under-painting on an irregular pinkish/yellow ground of a group of figures carrying a woman above their heads. Keep in mind that the under-painting is the equivalent to a writer's brainstorming where all is still possible in terms of inclusion/modification or elimination. I like this part a lot. A swipe of a solvent soaked cloth and it is gone! Right now I am merely defining the light and dark masses while eeking out the composition.
Ostensibly it is an image of an Ibiza summer party, fun and frolick, but needless to say references abound. The woman's body relates to earlier works of figures that move/float/fall through space (or water) though in this case for the first time the there is actually physical support to her position, many hands holding her up and sharing her weight. Reference to crucifiction in the wide open arms stretching diagonally across the canvas and bystanders/apostles/fellow active participants or mere bystanders in varying degrees of engagement and proximity.
The space above the figures will be abstract, watery filmy dreamy with psychedelic and symbolic references mixed in with water sprays yet to be defined, but speaking to the reading of the image. Lighting from above, of course, isn't that where all illumination comes from? On the right hand corner I plan to sketch in a drummer, so stay tuned.
Give me a minute please to boil myself down to a single descriptive sentence...I am still working on this!