Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hidden Currents of the Deep

Hidden Currents of the Deep is my most recent painting. Below you can see the progression of this piece from start to finish, including various stages of sketches.

(click on images for a larger view)

Hidden Currents of the Deep, 24" x 30", acrylic on canvas board, 2012.

As with my other recent paintings, I'm trying to develop my work with as little conscious thought as possible, attempting to connect with the hidden currents of the deep waters of my unconscious mind. The result of this is that although I may have at least some sense of what these paintings are about, they are in large part a mystery to me. This is what I find so intriguing about this way of working, and what has been the main driving force in the production of my art over the last few years.

Sequence of Sketches

The first sketch was done with Prismacolor sticks on newsprint. I'm using a method I refer to as "blind ambidextrous symmetrical drawing"; meaning that I draw with both hands, eyes closed, in a more or less symmetrical manner. This is the part where I attempt to be as unconscious as possible of what my hands are doing.

The drawing is photographed and brought into Photoshop, where the right side is selected, copied, and flipped to make the drawing totally symmetrical. I stare at this for some time, and wait for things to begin to reveal themselves to me. I then proceed and develop the drawing, using a custom "brush" (in Photoshop) and a Wacom Intuos tablet. It goes through several stages, and then gets colored. I attempt to work very freely and intuitively throughout this whole process.

Sequence of Painting

The sketch is printed and, using a grid, the drawing is started with pencil on the canvas board. The pencil is then painted over with black, and a transparent red goes over the whole thing. Various shades of blue are added. Finally, all that remains is a large number of hours of meticulous detailed rendering.

What I'm finding these days is that although in a conceptual sense I've moved a LONG way away from my commercial illustration days, I'm still using a lot of the painting chops that I developed during that period of time. So, in a way, it's kind of like the best of both worlds.