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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

QUARTET 13, 14, 15, 16

Another good day of staying on the mountain, no need to run to town, no schedule someplace else, home where I can take a nap when I feel like it, do nothing when I feel like it, or do something when I feel like it. It's good for art projects to have days in a row not needing to go off the mountain for any reason. Made some progress on an art project, good progress, fun progress. Sunday I asked Justin to cut a scrap piece of rough plywood he had left over from a project. It was seven and a half inches wide and eight feet long. I asked him to cut two thirty-two inch pieces and two sixteen inch pieces. I carried them home delighted as a child with new toys. Monday I ran rough sandpaper around the edges to knock off the burrs. It is not finish plywood. It's rough. What I wanted. They are parts of a four-piece site-specific project for my friends, Lucas and Judy Carpenter. The living room has two triangles that have called to me for years to find something that works inside a triangle, that includes the triangle as geometric shape, one of the three elements of the visual world, the square, the circle and the triangle. I'll insert two rectangles in each triangle. Splinters gone from around the edges, I was ready to start. Get out the drill, the bits and some one-inch wood screws. I glued some wood strips, two on each rectangle, and screwed them to the back, to brace the plywood and inhibit warping. Using a powerful wood glue from the hardware store. My attitude putting together a construction is that if something can break, it will. Murphy's law. I'm confident all four pieces are as firmly put together as can be. I put hangers on the back that will make them easy to hang. 

Next step, cut some cardboard rectangles to glue to the boards. As I said, the boards are rough plywood. Each one had bad places, deep grooves around knots, I did not want to arrange the cardboard rectangles mentally. Wanted chance to arrange. I let the bad places determine where I'd put the cardboard. I sat with them, one at a time with a pencil and drew on the places and shapes for the rectangles. It worked to satisfaction. Every board is uniquely itself, arrangement of cardboard determined by the boards themselves. Cardboard covered the bad places, and the rest of the board is smooth. No patterns in the arrangements of the cardboard, which I have come to think of as the subject, the positive space, while the board around is negative space. The part I see most is the light along an edge of the plywood and a shadow along the opposite edge. This part changes according to the direction of incoming light. By day, light coming from windows, the light and shadow lines will be one way, and by night, lights from inside will make the lines shift; a line light before will be a dark line from another light source. I think other people see the cardboard the subject, though I see the lines of light and shadow the subject. The triangle on the left is a left angle triangle, the right side vertical. The long board will be horizontal across the lower part of the triangle, and the shorter board will be horizontal a few inches above it. Looking at the long one a red not yet determined, and the short one a blue not yet determined. Today I'm looking at an earth red and a deep sky blue. The triangle on the right is a right angle triangle, the vertical line on the left. In it, the long board will be vertical and the short board vertical too, a couple inches between them. The long one white and the short one a rich egg yolk yellow. The white standing tall will be its own statement. The yellow will make its own statement too. And the yellow will enhance the white, give the white a jolt of energy.

This project has lived in my head for a few weeks, waiting for the wood to come through and waiting for the paint to arrive in the mail. Today's part after the glue bonding the cardboard was overnight dry, apply the gesso. All four boards came to life as entities. They are a quartet, belong together, site specific, so I'm putting the whole project together as one piece. I won't rush the laying on of color. May color them one at a time or a pair at a time. I lay the paint on emotionally and want the quartet to all come from the same emotional place. If I paint one, then wait a week, I'm in another place. It would be ok if that's what I wanted, but I want these of the same emotional place in self. I don't mean dramatic emotional. I feel the mixing of the colors very closely until the one appears that is It. It has the feeling I'm looking for in the color. I couldn't name the feeling going into it, won't know what it is until application. Even then, won't know how to name it. I see a stillness in this series, a stillness I like. Thinking of naming this quartet, I really don't want to go beyond 13, 14, 15, 16, looking for titles. Maybe something cool like: Quartet; 13, 14, 15, 16. Sounds kinda beatnik. I'll go with that. It tells their sequence in the evolution of this series of gluing cardboard to wood and painting it. Next, or soon, I want to do one on paper. See how that goes. Watching how one feeds an idea for the next one enchants me. I'm coming close to the end of my found plywood and the wood I use for braces. That just means go on to something else. I have some blank canvases about. Plenty of paper. I don't want to do plywood on and on. I have small wooden boxes to play with, blocks of wood. This project is about using up the things I've found over the years and haven't done anything with yet. It's about using up excess paint, too. 

These are the days of I'm-gonna. It is due to the inspiration of this Daily Creative Practice group on facebook. Different people showing what they're doing and telling about it. It's inspiring every day to see what my new friends are doing. Many of them are quite extraordinary. I don't do anything like any of the others, which is a good thing. Most of what the others do is so far beyond anything I could do, I look on in awe, honored to be among them, happy to know them. Everybody does something that is uniquely their own. I love that about the group. It has no agenda. Only to get people together of an art interest as we all live our lives in a wasteland. It's nice to be in touch with people of art interest. I felt like the only way my minimalist approach fit with the others is that it's what I'm doing, like what they do is what they're doing. I love it that everybody's expression is uniquely their own. My minimalist approach to plywood, cardboard and pigment is the first time in my art life I feel like I have touched "art." What van Gogh called "It." A little bit ago I walked over to the most recently finished one, the white one, drying on an easel. I looked at the light and dark lines either side of the cardboard and looked at the slashes of paint, To my eye, the art in it is the fall of the light, the glow of light on one vertical line and the dark line of shadow on the other, neither of which was painted, and they change according to the direction of incoming light. I'm the only one on earth this would matter to, making it all the more my own. This white one and the one before it, bic lighter orange, take my breath when I see them. In the same way a Mark Rothko takes my breath. This tells me it satisfies my own personal aesthetic. And it's more fun than watching a dog chase its tail.

tj worthington


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