Geeking out

These paintings combine a bunch of geeky ideas that have been rattling around in my head for a while.  A reduced palette, low light conditions, and a one-over-f distribution of spatial frequencies colored such that saturation is inversely related to shape size.  They look a little like watercolor illustrations but are actually oil on gessoed paper.  Oh yes, and the round-edge windows are almost certainly printmaking plates in disguise.

As I hoped, I did learn something from this exercise.  The drawing for the top (New York) painting obeys the usual rule: about equal numbers of big, medium, and small shapes.  But the second one (the view from the fourth floor conference room at work) does not.  It’s only the colors that unite the big light and dark areas, and create the larger shapes the painting needs.  So clearly there is more to this than my simple rule of coloring the big shapes duller and the small shapes brighter.

I also noticed that for two days after finishing these, everything I looked at appeared more vibrant. I think it was painting all those closely related grays.  I often think of learning to draw or paint as mostly being about learning to use materials and control your hands.  But really I think it has more to do with changing how you see.

I tried to explain all this to Joey (and to thank him for waking me up to catch the source photo for the first painting) but he was unimpressed.