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.

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