Friday, November 09, 2007

I'm not giving up

I am not, I can assure you, giving up.



I refer, more specifically, to the disaster that is "Close, But No Cigar." I spent some time staring at it yesterday and am of the opinion that we (we meaning me and my collection of sticks and brushes) can wrest victory from the jaws of defeat.

And it actually does look better in person than the picture above would suggest. What doesn't come through to you, dear reader, is the visual significance (strength? importance?) of the underlay of gray that represents the first grid. I'm not a big pop art guy (other than my complicated yes/no/yes/no relationship with the work of Andy Warhol) but the gray layer, even now as it lies beneath the black, has almost a Rosenquisty/Lichtensteiny comic-book-image-silk-screened-onto-canvas, Sergeant-Rock-with-cigarette-clenched-in-his-teeth Blam!!! kind of a look.

Which is not without its charms.

That said, and charms aside, I may have to step away from my grid over grid concept (about which I was almost pathetically excited and now have had my hopes completely dashed) and just start flinging the paint.

In truth, this may be a good idea. I'm not sure how spiritually healthy it is to be painting the way I do in one-foot squares. I'm feeling a bit, these days, like my aura has been diminished. I'm reminded of "Born Free," that movie about the lions that I saw when I was a kid. Don't remember much, but I think it was about rescuing lion cubs, rehabilitating them, and then training them to live effectively in the wild again. I remember the woman saying something like: "They were born free. They should live free."

Which I know has something to do with throwing the paint.

And furthermore...

There is one more thing to be said about the painting above. If I weren't attempting to do a particular thing--that being the reinterpretation of a famous Chuck Close image with an emphasis on a gridded style--one could argue that this is quite an interesting technique in and of itself. One wonders what one or two--I think two would be better--additional gridded layers might yield. The third would be sepia. The fourth, likely, black. Alternating between the primary grid (that being the original thirty squares that appear when you first draw the lines--or, in this case, indicate with dots--and the gray paint I laid down) and the secondary grid (that being the interior grid created by using the dots as the centers of the squares--rather than as the corners--and the black paint), one could strengthen both the original one-foot grid, the second one-foot grid, and the resultant emergence of a grid comprised of six-inch squares created by, essentially, shifting the line of the interior grid six inches horizontally and six inches vertically from those of the primary grid.
This is getting pretty confusing.
Yeah. I see what you mean. The best way to think about it is this: There are two grids on the face of the painting. The first one--the primary grid--consists of 30 one-foot squares whose corners fall on the little green dots. The second one--the interior grid--consists of 20 squares whose centers fall on the dots.
Why do you call the second grid the "interior" one?
Because when I started centering the cardboard template I use to isolate the square of canvas I'm trying to paint on the dots, I realized that the second layer of paint--black in this case--wasn't going to extend all the way to the edge of the canvas. If the technique had panned out the way I had hoped it would, you would see the interior grid's edge falling about six inches in from the actual edge of the painting. Like a grid within a grid. See?
Yeah. It's like Hamlet.
Exactly.
And, with a nod to Warhol, one could both salute and subvert the traditional four-color printing process (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). Although I am so not going down that CMYK color road. Too confusing.

Anyway, when all is said and done, the painting is not without its charms. Which is a far cry from where my head was two days ago.

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