I was only going to make 6, but I wanted to try an experiment, and so now we have 7. I have a couple more experiments I want to do, so I’ll probably push it to 9. And that’s a bit better for a series than 6.
This one’s very bright, colorful, and outdoors. That’s a marked contrast to the last one, which could have taken place in a basement, or a barn. It’s worth having a look for purposes of comparison:
I didn’t say much about #6 when I shared it here, but I am quite fond of it. Even though all the figures have painterly deformities, and sometimes more obviously anatomical ones, #6 is more darkly brooding than the new one.
In our beach-themed piece, the main innovation is the intersection of heads in more of a 3d space. The prior pieces suggest three dimensions, but overlap, or morph, where here they clearly intersect, which is most obvious in the mouths.
I could probably get more attention for them if I lied and said that I’m bipolar — I’ve noticed artists talking a lot publicly about their depression — and that the subjects reflect this condition. I’m mentally pretty damned stable, and mostly when I’m not relatively contented, I just get annoyed and disgusted with the rampant stupidity of the world. So, there’s not such an easy, or marketable interpretation. While I am trafficking in psychology, I’m not doing one-liners.
I’ve used a mostly abstract swirl of paint to represent the immaterial mind in paintings, starting with “Rorschach Experiment 1” of 2012.
There was no clear body, but I envisioned the membranous painterly swirls as a mind, which I think others would easily pick up on, too, because it looks a lot like a brain.
By the way, I was doing digital impasto back then, but had fewer tools.
My earlier technique is clunky compared to my newer methods. Compare the detail above to one from my last piece:
In the past I really had to belabor it and brush over the same areas many times. Now, my strokes are more free-flowing. I’m using programs sometimes in ways they were not intended, and so it’s difficult to get it to work.
Note that I get people sending me private messages asking me what programs I use. If it was that easy, lots of people would be doing it. I try to explain that it’s not about the program, it’s about the user. There isn’t some magic filter, though AI might come up with something in the future. The reason I’m able to do the strokes above is because I did those other ones back in 2012, and I started several years before that. But that’s only one tool in my toolkit.
Digital art for me involves a lot of trial and error, experimenting, and then combining different things that have worked. Well, that applies to art in general.
I have a general rule, which is that if something’s already been done, I don’t need to redo it. This doesn’t mean I have a problem with other people working in well-established genres. Not at all. In fact, to go off on a tangent, the guitarist of Judas Priest, K.K. Downing, who just turned 70, cut a new album in 2021 that sounds just like prime late 70’s/early 80’s metal, and THAT is what I like about it. Behold:
I might want a few more nachos with my cheese, but, yeah, that little bit of extra cheese topping adds to the circa 1980 flavor.
So, it’s just something for me personally. I don’t like to do something that’s already been done, at least that I know about. After this series I’m planning on throwing more ingredients into my work, and using a fuller arsenal of my skills. That’s one way to be distinct.
Back to the psychology. In this image I’m using the two heads to suggest that a person is a confluence of moods and states, mind and body, and over time. And if one were to depict that simultaneously, it might give more of a sense of a person, and their inner life, than a portrait showing only one pose, and the exterior body, at one fixed point.
It’s also interesting to me to combine photo-realistic parts with abstract elements, and illusionistic depth going back in space with piled on paint floating on the surface of the canvas. The result is multidimensional.
Here she is again:
Yes, I’m really drawn to strongly horizontal canvases. It could be because of films, but it’s also generally a more efficient use of the shape of the monitor I’m working on.
And here’s all 7 so far:
2 more to go.
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