Friday, April 18, 2008

My Art Story - The Birth of the Dots

Okay - to understand this post you have to read the two previous ones. At least. Hopefully you have read every single post I have ever written and are hanging on every word! But I digress....
As you have read, my art theory had evolved over a few months. I had gone through the phase of mixing colors on my palette and simply applying them to the experimenting with keeping the colors separate but layered and juxtaposed in such a way as to force the color mixing to occur in the viewer's eyes not on the canvas.
It worked in a rough way but I wanted more. I wanted the effect to be more rigidly controlled. I wanted the canvas to vibrate as the colors co-mingled but didn't mix.
I had been using a crosshatch stroke which I synthesized down to it's very essence - the dot.
I started by painting the canvas with one layer of color. Then covering the entire canvas with one color of dots in a grid pattern - not randomly.
Again I will use "orange" as my example. To achieve the color "orange" in this "dot" method, I would first paint a layer of red then cover the entire canvas with a layer of small yellow dots in a grid pattern. The effect was exactly what I was looking for - the two colors mingled to create orange! And not just orange but a vibrating field of orange. Vibrating and alive and moving! And yet both colors remained separate too.Here is a first try: This is called "Wallpaper" because that was what I was trying to make it look like. It even has a fly on it.The background color was pink, then I added a layer of red dots, then yellow....Then painted the flower "design" in different blues and finally I added the fly and his shadow! Ultimately what I was doing was taking the color down to it's component parts. I don't know if you can see the effect here but in person they are very cool!

This next picture is a nude done in dots. The background color is yellow and each succeeding layer of dots was meant to coax the shape out of the background. Like sculpting with color. It's rough looking but it's all done by hand - and that started to be a problem!
This was turning out to be a time consuming art form! I needed to work... and eat and sleep! Sometimes each piece seemed to take forever, depending on it's size. So I figured I could automate it somewhat by learning screenprinting. This next example - also a nude - was done as a screenprint. What this screenprint technique loses from the immediate, frantic look when it is hand done, it gains in being able to create many prints from one design. However, I still needed to make each screen of dots by hand! But in this example below, I had discovered that you can buy pages of machine-made dots, I think made by Letraset. So I used them to make the screens. And while the perfection that resulted has it's own beauty, there was charm in the pieces using handmade dots. And so that was my exploration of dots. This all happened from 1977 through about 1988 or so. Life moved on and I had to get jobs, pay the bills, get out and meet people, etc. But I was happy with my discovery. I hadn't been influenced by anyone or any other art philosophy, even though they may be out there. Thanks for reading this!!

1 comment:

Stacy Alexander said...

Did you study Albers? This method was included in his color theory class that I took back in Houston. Interesting stuff. Love the effects you achieved!