How do you work through your design ideas as you are composing a work? The best resources I have for stepping back and looking at my work objectively are my Coolpix digital camera and photo software.
In the years before I used this dynamic duo:
- I took Polaroid pictures and hung them on my design wall.
- I turned away from the wall and held up a pocket mirror and looked at the work in it backwards.
- I removed my glasses and squinted.
- I looked at it in the dark so just the value contrasts stood out.
- I turned it a quarter turn and viewed it from each orientation to see what it revealed about my composition.
- I carried my piece from room to room, laid it over a couch or chair and then let my eye catch a glimpse of it each time I passed through.
Now, I shoot images of the work on my design wall and can immediately load and view them on my computer to evaluate where I am.
I’ve spent this week working on the fifth Relics piece. Here’s some details of its evolution to date:
One layer of monoprinted dye on the silk – this is a detail – the full piece is 65” long x 55” high. At first a vertical orientation, I changed it to horizontal.
First layers of added dye painting. It definitely does not look aged yet.
Beginning to define the lines and crevasses.
Adding more color.
Deepening and darkening areas. My intention with each layer is to age the surface and create more visual depth and definition. I’ve shifted now from dyes to paints. This is a detail of where I left this new piece yesterday.
I am still adding line work and defining the crevasses. Once that’s done, I will be ready to add the language elements to the surface that suggest ancient inscriptions -- or possibly play on the “ancient writing” theme with some 20th century graffiti.
Whether this piece ends up on the “sample” pile to be made into smaller works or actually proves to be successful on a large scale, it is teaching me a lot.