A Piece of Me – the beginning

September 12, 2019

Last week I finished the preparation of 64 identically sized panels (21 x 13.3 cm or 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.) for a new project. This project consists of cutting up a full length photograph (which happens to be a self-portrait, see here for the source image) into 64 identically sized pieces and then painting each piece in a different medium. Since there are not 64 different mediums, in effect, I’ve reduced my approach to five: egg tempera, encaustic, the mixed technique, oils and acrylics. Preparation-wise then, each medium receives the ground appropriate to it: egg tempera receives chalk gesso; encaustic and mixed technique, ditto; while oils receive an oil ground; and acrylics, acrylic gesso. Additionally each panel receives a pre-treatment (or not) thus: plain wood (so, no treatment); linen (glued on, using rabbit-skin glue); collage (glued on, again using rabbit-skin glue); pre-textured sculpting (I used acrylic modeling paste for the acrylic and oil panels while I experimented with pastiglia for the egg tempera, encaustic and mixed technique panels). Needless to say this approach presents a bit of a logistical nightmare but excel spreadsheets can indeed work miracles.
Anyway, instead of this appearing to be a new direction, actually, it’s not. It’s a return to the kind of work I was doing approximately 40 years ago. And have briefly dabbled in since in 2012. But I’m returning to it now with a deeper understanding of many things, philosophically, aesthetically and technically. Here we go…

So this week I began with the egg tempera panels. One fourth of each of these will be painted on chalk gesso over wood, linen, collage or pastiglia, respectively. In all cases I’ve decided to use silverpoint for my underdrawing, as this works particularly well on chalk gesso. From a gevoelsmatig (feeling-sense) point of view it is delightful to do and results in very subtle, warm value gradations. Pictured here is the finished silverpoint drawing of panel #1 and the photograph upon which it was based.
I love how these compositions are completely arbitrary and spontaneous. The challenge will be to create an interesting painting of each one. In the end I expect there will be a certain amount of dissonance between panels; the challenge will be to create enough but not too much.


5 Responses to “A Piece of Me – the beginning”

  1. […] on the left is the first in a long series, now officially “off the press”. The full description of the whole project is on my companion wordpress web-blog site, atelierartisanal.com. In all these panels I want to […]

  2. […] been doing underdrawings for the other panels (of this big 64 panel project that you can read about here) earlier this week, thus yesterday I was able to return to the egg tempera series. Here on the left […]

  3. […] You can read an overview about the whole project here. […]

  4. […] I completed this panel, #46, in the egg tempera series yesterday. It was an intriguing piece to paint since I was applying lightly tinted washes over an already sculpted pastiglia surface – that had also received its preparatory black and white underdrawing in india ink. So in one sense, I had my work already cut out for me. But in another sense I had colors to coordinate and to balance, as well as textures to enhance. Compositionally, the design of the piece is quite strong, an almost white, emphatic vertical thrust on the left (the leg of my linen pants) which needs to balance with a series of tinted trapezoids (floor tiles) on the right. Luckily, there was some drapery top left whose hues and values echo some of the  shapes on the right. The pastiglia quickly and easily enhanced the chiaroscuro I wanted to add to my pants leg. I’m happy: this stands alone and, I think, will integrate well in the final assemblage. You can read a description of the full project here. […]

  5. […] Here is #51, next in the egg tempera series. It’s an abstract design (of a section of a plastered wall) that, at first, had seemed deceptively easy. But, in fact, the area of gray and white depicted on the far left required integration, that is, it stood out like a sore thumb until I had supplied a light echo to it on the bottom, right. They say a missing word can cause a poem to bleed. I find the same is true of a painting – no matter what the subject matter. Alternatively – when it’s successful – a work of art is driven by its own inner unity, to which the artist must kneel. An overview of the whole project can be read here. […]

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