I’m working on 2 panels inspired by Tempus Gallery’s exhibition REDUCED5. The works are limited to black, white and/or grey. Years ago this was my favorite working environment, so I am very happy to get started on the new work.

I started with 2 gessoed white panels of masonite about 18″ x 48″. Stage one is to dirty up the surface. I used powdered graphite and watered down black paint in a pressurized sprayer that you’d use in the garden to squirt pesticides all over your organic veggies. I spent the evening scribbling with aquarella pencils and squirting water and drying at various stages. The beauty of the aquarella pencil is that after they dry, you can reactivate them with water and continue the process. They otherwise draw like an Ebony pencil, leaving a rich black mark. I didn’t have any concept at this point. At this stage, it’s just an exercise in nonobjective abstraction.

For the second layer, I decided to sketch out some sort of portrait on one of the panels. The pencils were really hard to see on top of the messy background, so I looked around the studio and found a box of Schwann Stabilo crayons. I love these things. Water soluble and they draw on any surface like a crayon.

I’m drawing this portrait very similar to one of my plywood portraits that I did a while ago. Heavily cubist inspired drawing, but I hope it will turn into something cool at some point in the near future. I’ve added more graphite and let some more dripping occur.

I have no idea what I’ll do on the second panel, but I’m considering a female portrait on the right side of the image so the 2 might look interesting displayed as a diptych. Another idea is to incorporate some halftone dot imagery that I’m notoriously know for. I like the idea of the fluid and abstracted surface moving beneath a static and graphically rigid halftone dot.

I sketched some flowers onto paper and added them to the panel to see how it might work before I commit to it. Safety first even with flowers.

6/11 – Last night I started working on the second panel. As I predicted, I chose a photo of Katy, distorted it and converted it into half-tone dots. I projected it and painted the negative space with white paint. As the paint fires I’m drawing in the black dot with the aquarella pencil.

It’s hard to see the image at this stage and it’s likely to become harder to see as it develops. I’m trying to blend the 2 styles so they don’t look like a car crash. As the paint drips and the graphite runs, I’m hoping it will look beautiful.

I painted white dots for about 3 hours (in the dark) and then I started drawing the black dots. After another 4 or 5 hours I think I’m at the stage where I paint with the lights on. As you’ve probably guessed, that’s when it really gets fun.

These don’t really look like they belong together. Maybe they don’t. Does everything have to match? I’m going to continue developing them individually to see what they become. I need some more white and some more black – it’s all so grey.

I’m going to put a portrait right where the black shadowy silhouette is. I’m making Katy pose for it. This should be interesting….