Thursday, August 16, 2007


This is Squarescape One.
The original idea was to do a series of square paintings,
using various natural shapes laid out in different configurations.
Stylised leaves, branches, rocks, mountains, clouds would
be arranged like cut out flat shapes on a flat surface.
Each painting would be similar to the previous except for
subtle composition and colour changes.
The exercise would allow me to focus on colour and composition
instead of meaning and mark making.
Also, I thought that cutting these collection of shapes out in thick
MDF board, painting, and slotting them together to make free standing
sculptures would work well with the paintings
in a gallery setting.
By the time I finished the second painting I had changed my mind,
and decided to make a perpetual
series of ever changing squarescapes.
The first idea still has merit but will be done as a once-off,
some day in the future, when I have more time.
I have just finished Squarescape Six (posted below) and
sent it off with two other Squarescapes to be framed for my next show.
Squarescape Seven is all white as a blank canvas sitting on my easel.
Tonight I spent some time staring at the square tempting
myself with new challenges.
Also, I dabbled with limited colour pallets - Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber,
Red Oxide,Phalo Blue and Titanium white.
One idea is a series of straight lines defining the landscape, without
allowing curves or gestural marks. This would then have vertical
calligraphic marks overlaid simply in black ink.
Another idea is to do a series of scummbled lines from left to right,
following a very freely drawn contour line,
that covers the entire surface from top to bottom.
The colour would be graduated in various ways, to create an
undulating visual sensation.
Sort of a poor mans op-art , or a scruffy Bridget Riley.
Also, starting to work on a painting from the title down.
The painting will be called, 'As'. The canvas is blank and ready, but
I have no idea what will be on it.
At least I have the title to give me a clue.


  1. Titles can be a good place to start. I collect titles, at some point in time they will trigger an image like the painting I'm trying to finish "the executioner's daughter".
    Your blogging skills and posts are improving all the time. This was an interesting description of one of your processes. keep it up.
    PS did you enjoy Bob's concert?

  2. These Squarescapes remind me of Chinese Characters which are also based on the square format and are kind of pictograms, you should check them out especially the ancient text, they are very interesting.

  3. L.M. - I normally give a title to an artwork near completion, which is also about the same time I start thinking about the work as well. Only certain works are planned ahead of time, and their meaning or content are mostly not prescribed. The title, 'As' will be my Jan. show title and Jan. show video title. I am feeling that I need a few more artworks, so I am trying to whip a few more out. So a painting based on my show theme seemed like a good idea. I am also prompted by your multiple character paintings and following suite. I am feeling the need do something a bit more complex thematically.

    Antlion - the first square painting I did before the Squarescape series started, was designed up on my old Atari computer as an exercise in composition. It occurred to me that there was a certain balance but ambiguity in the square painting format. It can not be so easily read - it's not in portrait or landscape mode. The forces within the square can be manipulated based on design instead of reference to either of those two modes. One reason I started the Squarescape paintings was to break the traditonal landscape mode mindset.
    I have read up on Chinese characters a bit, and are fascinated by their propensity to carry information from the past in a stylised and refined way like a pictorial Mitochondrial DNA.
    There is a excellent book available that shows how the Chinese characters carry the story of Noah and the flood, and other ancient historical references. The title, 'As'' is short for, 'As a man thinks so he is' - the idea, in an art context, is that, artists works will reflect what they believe. I would hope one day to produce a painting that embodies a profound statement that fits the time I live in but also reflects a rich historical heritage. Sort of like a Chinese character or an archetype, without the Jungian or New Age overtones.

  4. I don't believe I've ever attempted a square. Not something that ever occurred to me, but then I'm not particularly analytical. Went to show not long ago where an artist friend had a bunch of altered digital images strongly reminiscent of Chinese paintings but printed in a long horizontal rather than a vertical scroll format. The effect was quite disturbing. That flat layered look is great, David.


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