I spent an hour or so fixing the figure that I didn’t like and tweaking the composition a bit. The structure of the painting is based on the five pointed pentagram, like the star on American Air Force planes, military helmets and so on. It’s always been held in deep regard by mathematicians because of the ratio 1.62, which is to be found in each of the intersections of the lines joining point to point.
I’ve chosen to place the point of the star on the eye of the girl holding the bowl, the second pair of points upon the mouths of the kneeling centre couple (one of whom I have yet to draw), and the third pair upon the ears of the lowest pair of characters. To accomplish this I moved the arm of the middle ground girl up to place the sword she holds directly upon the composition line, passing a sword to her colleague. I moved her leg over a touch to the right so she feels more grounded, the I worked on the lower half of the kneeling fellow on the right, whose legs were too short. The improvements may seem superficial, but they’re so much easier to make now than later, and I really want the geometry to work in this piece.
In the picture you’ll see my laptop, open with a photo study on the screen. I find this helpful for setting up the drawing in the earliest stages in the making of a painting.
I didn’t get much done today other than to add a glaze layer of transparent iron ozide to the moon, hinting at the cratered surface and the rabbit in the moon.
I’m considerably more satisfied with the colour balance of the whole painting now. The moon colour really ties together with the figures. My friend Jonathon Cordero came to visit and reminded me that this crucifixion is a lynching.
I spent a pleasant hour or two drawing a couple more figures onto the sketch for the Golden Bowl painting. I’m pretty happy that the painting will go the way I want it to; it’s a bit smaller and the relationships between the figures is compressed to extreme. Messing with “real” perspective seems to be the theme for these small pieces doesn’t it.
I’m not happy with the figure on the bottom right, who needs to move up and left a quarter inch. I also overcompensated for his poor positioning by making his legs too short. It’s a pretty easy fix but I’m disappointed that I drew the figure so poorly in the first place. Should have caught this.
The Golden Bowl is the most specifically alchemical painting I’ve done so far. I’m calling it the Golden Bowl because of the obvious compositional relationship to the Golden section. In alchemical (Pythagorean) philosophy five is regarded as a particularly sacred number because the ratio of the lines of the pentagram is 1.62. Beautiful!
With every intention to post all three little narratives last night, I got the first one about the crucifixion complete, put the children to bed and promptly fell asleep myself (wearing my clothes, ech!).
I began composition work for the Falling Off painting by attaching a piece of string close to the top off the canvas, allowing me to draw single point perspective lines with a strong forced perspective which will enable me to paint the trees so that they really emphasize the depth as they recede towards the sky.
I’ll need to do a little research on the constellation Scorpio so I can get it accurate. I have the photo source for my Virgo girl falling of the world. Remember that the painting is astrological: my wife is Scorpio, I’m a Virgo. Not saying I’m a virginal girl here, just that that’s my sign! (Perhaps I should paint the maiden with a lion’s head to show Leo rising?)