A year ago today, I went to a neighborhood art store and bought three tubes of oil paint on a whim, and started making oil paintings for the first time in my life. I wrote about that at the time here, about starting from scratch and about some of my thoughts and feelings about oil painting as then a still mostly abstract idea.
I spent the last couple days, in particular too many hours yesterday, working on a new painting, Five Concentric Wireframe Cubes. I also took a lot of pictures along the way, as I drafted out guidelines on a three foot by two foot canvas and then systematically mixed and laid colors into that drawing.
I’m pleased with the result, and also pretty sore from all the careful freehand edge-making at various 60 degree increments on a large canvas. Working larger like this introduces new challenges compared to the many square-foot paintings I’ve done in the last couple months. New complications, but also exciting possibilities.
One implication of a larger canvas is that the machine-cut stencil process that fits smaller paintings (e.g. Continuity) really well is more difficult to use well. I have done a couple of larger stencil-driven pieces so far this year — Sierpinski Carpet, Concentric Squares which required four coordinated stencil plates; Conservation of Area which required six — and they came out well, but it was a great deal of extra work to involve the notionally time-saving stencil element. I’m still working out the balance, there.
But difficulty of coordinating multiple stencil plates aside, FCWC isn’t a great fit for that anyway: the painting is made up of a lot of fields of directly adjacent color, so there’s no negative space gaps for stencil material to define.
It’s also a (relatively) simple design; compared to the two pieces linked above, it has no thin, closely-packed lines, but rather fewer, larger areas made out of (to think of it one way) one or more contiguous unit-inch equilateral triangles. And so drafting it out with rule and pencil was as good a solution as any.