I worked at the en grisaille layer of the figure today, first sanding down the area that needs to be painted, then laying in a rather rough version of the values. The more I paint the more I appreciate the roughness of working fast in the earlier stages of the work, then controlling the marks and refining them later on. This allows for the accidents of the mark-making process to become part of the work, so it feels as if it has all created itself, almost by accident. The looseness is controlled so that there is the sensation of guided spontaneity. In the Amelia Earheart woman of the “Aviator’s Dream” you canÂ track that process as you watch the painting develop.Â I’ll keep the same discipline now as I work on the seated man.
First layer en grisaille. Lots more to do here.Â
Once I’d completed the rough en grisaille layer on the “Crow Flies” painting I continued working on the Neolithic Geomantic man, mostly line work to clarify the edges of the figure and clean up the feet and legs in particular. I plan to paint some crows onto the large open areas, then for the installation I’ll hang the two pieces opposite each other. In the centre of the space I want to lay out a circle of gravel with a circling pendulum suspended from the ceiling, rotating about the circumference.Â
I’ll probably lay some tape onto the ground to mark the solstice line and align the space. On the other two Â walls I think I’ll mount some blocks with some wax and saltÂ opposite each other. We’ll see.
I gave up on the numbers by painting series some time ago, I think because they were too tight and design oriented rather than painterly. I started thinking of the Pythagorean numbers in terms of figurative composition, so I started doodling for a figurative version of the number seven. I’m pretty satisfied that this might go somewhere, particularly if I can come up with figurative arrangements that conceal the shapes so that they’re only obvious if people are paying attention. I really love to put secrets in paintings.Â
Crow Communes(Ted Hughes – From the Life and Songs of the Crow)
‘Well,’ said Crow, ‘What first?’
God, exhausted with Creation, snored.
‘Which way?’ said Crow,’Which way first?’
God’s shoulder was the mountain on which Crow sat.
‘Come,’ said Corw, ‘Let’s discuss the situation.’
God lay ,agape, a great carcasse.
Crow tore off a mouthful and swallowed.
‘Will this cipher divulge itself to digestion
Under hearing beyond undestanding?’
(That was the first jest.)
Yet, it’s true, he suddenly felt much stronger.
Crow, the heirophant, humped, impenetrable.