Sunday, August 5, 2007


This is, 'Squarescape 6' or loosely called, 'Floaters'.
I have been finishing it off this last week.
By working, on it again I have revived my interest
in this work and the precise aspects of creating it.
Below are a few zoom shots of parts of the work,
with a few explanations.

This close-up shows one end of a small
slither of dried sugar cane leaf.

The real leaf is about 50mm long and
was subsequently blown up too about 600mm
when painted. Most of these objects were
collected from just outside my back door.

This next one shows a length of green grass,
part of a banksia flower, and a hollow roll of bark.
All are expanded in size, and are not
proportional to each other.

The third one is a weed pulled up roots and all.
The close-up shows the roots, while the full painting
shows the flower and leaves at the bottom.

The final close up is meant to show the
water in the background.

This part of the painting was designed
in a computer drawing program.
A group of circles were drawn evenly spaced,
then slightly tilted on a receding like plane.
The image was printed out, then pin pricked
and cut in such a way to create registration guides.
Charcoal was crushed to powder, then applied
with a brush to make a print on the painting.
This was done by forcing the charcoal through
the pin holes, then moving the paper along until
the painting was covered.

The most tedious part of the exercise was the
colouring in, which needed a few coats.
But thats all most finished now and the painting
is mostly complete.

I am already thinking about Squarescape 7 and have
the MDF support primed, ready and waiting.


  1. The colours really work in this David and I like your experimental working methods. I see you've used Michelangelo's image transfer methods for his fresco work. That sounds like a time consuming way of doing things.
    You've mentioned that you use MDF as a support, can you elaborate? Do you glue canvas to it or simply prime it? If so, what do you prime it with and do you coat the other side with something. I use Bondcrete or Gripcrete. have you ever had any problems with MDF that I should be awre of?

  2. Keen of you to pick up on Michelangelo's image transfer method. I saw that on a documentary a few years back. It was a bit time consuming, but worked reasonably well. The MDF board is glued to 31x19 FJ pine frame, with contact adhesive. The frame is butt joined and screwed. The MDF is primed both sides and edges. The front has two coats. The primer I use is an acrylic primer/sealer/undercoat as sold in hardware/paint shops. Water based primer/sealers like bondcrete
    would be fine to use as they are similar to acrylic primers. The trick with MDF is not to use solvent based primers/varnishes etc. directly on the bare board. The solvents can attack the glue used in the MDF board. If it is sealed first with bondcrete then you could use solvent based paint on top.
    I use 3mm MDF board and never paint on canvas. One reason is the cost factor the other reasons are I like working on surfaces that don't flex, and painting and drawing on hard surfaces.
    MDF can bow and warp if your not careful. Painting both sides and choosing good timber normally minimises that problem. I have found Meranti not very good - it seems to warp.
    MDF also drinks water like a sponge, so needs to be properly sealed.
    I just treat it like a big sheet of very heavy paper. I even cut the sheets in half with a Stanley knife sometimes - takes about 4 scores to get through. Other than those issues the board is fine to use.
    What I don't know is the lifetime of the product or the acid content.

  3. Thanks for sharing David. I've been using 6mm MDF, but I think I'll give the 3mm a try. I didn't know about the effect of solvent based sealers.
    I knew about the fresco business because I spent a semester studying and writing about frescoes.
    Anyway, I've awrded you a 'thoughtful blogger award' and you deserve it because you are a deep thinker. I did not write this with a smirk on my face. It is sincere.
    Please come round and get it.

  4. I have a link that talks about various wood supports, including mdf.

    Like you I seal, seal and seal, back, front and sides, with water based sealer and heavy duty primer.

    I like your painting a lot, and the technique is very interesting.

  5. Thanks Jafa Brit I'll check that site out.


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