I am working on a large commission this week that intails what I refer to as my 'City' Drawings. These are made up of drawings of individual buildings that I repeatedly construct, one on top of another, until they aggregate into a 'city'. These drawings are labor intensive, but I have books on CD and public radio to keep me company, and I'm always happily surprised by the end results. The commission thus far includes five panels, each 40 x 32 inches, created with acrylic paint pen on archival mat board. I've been playing with the color a bit, and with the configuration of the urban space in each piece.
Looking again at some of the Black and White Panoramic Photographs I made at the Magic Hedge in years past. The Magic Hedge is a bird sanctuary near Montrose Beach here in Chicago. The city has let the landscape return to a more natural, prairie-like setting to nurture birds as the migrate up and down the coast of Lake Michigan. It is one of my favorite places in Chicago and I have often made photographs there, most in color but a few in black and white. I came across this panoramic photograph as I was perusing old files and was pleasantly surprised to see it. I can see that one idea I was exploring, both as I shot the individual photos, and as I was assembling them, was Asian folding screens. A shared love a nature is one common denominator. The patterned manner in which the foliage moves across the horizontal format, and the way the flash illuminated individual leaves is a direct reference to some vintage Asian screens. And the still visible edges of the source photographs as the overlap one another, are analogous to the panels that make up folding screens.
I have spent the last few days making these India Ink grid-like things. I dip cardboard or foam-core into India Ink and then press the edges onto softish paper. The drips occur as I move back and forth between the ink well and the paper. They could almost be considered mono-prints, created one segment at a time. I love the effect - structured yet ghost-like, an x-ray or rubbing of some architectural structure.
Those two small aqua pieces on the table are the kernels of ideas not yet executed. The little watercolor happened as I was testing a new color recently added to my palette. As the paint dried these shapes appeared.
Untiled (July 26, 2013) - Watercolor on Paper - 30 x 41 inches
The watercolors for the Ralph Lauren window have been returned to me and I wanted to share a few of the large ones. These bigger watercolors were a challenge for me, watercolor being a media that does not scale up easily. That is to say that the liquid qualities of the material move, absorb and generally do not act in the same manner on a large piece of paper as they do on a small one. So there was a learning curve in their creation, and I did have to destroy a few very large and expensive pieces of watercolor paper in the process. But when the were successful they were very impressive. Part of the process involved pouring large amounts of pigmented liquid across these beautiful pieces of paper, that reminded me of some of the abstractionist from the 1960's. Things would have to completely dry between each pass, which on a sunny warm day was not a problem, but on a cool cloudy day could take many hours. And finally my hand would have to intrude and risk the final few layers of waves and clouds. The results are pieces that lack some of the intimacy of the small lake watercolors, but have an impact that emphasizes and mirrors the scale feeling of Lake Michigan.