Bombers iii

Bill Solomon came by this morning and showed me some of his extraordinary sculptural work. We have a good deal in common as far as 3d work goes. He has invented an imaginary culture that used artefacts made with gold and bark, and displays them in galleries as individual works and as pieces of an installation. I took advantage of his arrival to get him to pose for me for the Bombers piece, which I had begun laying out on the new canvas. I’ve given him a long beard. Sorry Bill.


This is in graphite over the gessoed canvas, so now it needs a thin first coat of a medium earth tone to kick off the painting. Here’s the detail (click for bigger image):


The figure is the hermit. 

There are some compositional tricks here that I think are totally exciting (what a geeky thing it is to think composition cool). I laid out the canvas based on 1.62, the divine proportion, placing the bottom points of a pentagram low on the canvas upon that line. I laid out the pentagram so that the points mark the locations of the mountain peak in the centre, the hole in the stone on the right, the cup bottom right, the lantern bottom left, the plate upon the stone on the left. The top of the hermit’s head is on the golden section, while his shoulders are on the lines of the pentagram in the centre of the pentacle. His knees are bounded by the lines coming from the top of the pentagram to the bottom. 

The four elements are represented by the holed stone (air), the solid stone (earth), the lantern (fire) and the bowl (water). The two pillars often appear in entrances to sanctuaries, and the hermit draws a circle around himself, circumscribing his actions and keeping him within due bounds.

The diagonal cross from corner to corner of the canvas provides the shape of the mountains and the site for the outside corner of the foot of the standing stones, the other corner being placed on the point of the second pentagram that lies on the circle on the ground (other points include the bowl, the lamp and something concealed behind the hermit.

Yet to be drawn into the composition; the moon, some coins and a knife. 


About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
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