A Phase painting in progress

Posted on February 24, 2009

Small section of Phase I

Yesterday I had five whole, uninterrupted hours in the studio. Fantastic. Forgot to eat of course and only stopped when my head went all dizzy. I started a 20″ by 50″ painting inspired by the music Piano Phase by Steve Reich. A group of three curves is altered in 2 ways – proximity and curvature – in an out-of-phase manner – one goes through 2 cycles, the other 3, over the length of the painting. Perhaps not entirely unexpectedly, if I think of sound waves, this sets up an interference pattern – a pattern within a pattern. So the color order is based on this interference pattern – 3 colors can be arranged in 6 different ways and there were 6 combinations of proximity and curvature, including the base combination.

The above photograph is where I had to stop. The ultramarine is the ground which will show through the colors to a degree. I do not want this to be a flat ‘pattern’ – I want it to look hand-crafted and to have a little depth. So no tape or flat paint here, although Illustrator was employed as a design tool.

Painting the underlying curves

Yes, in this shot the canvas is awful slack. I made this canvas myself – the first time I’ve made one this big and awkwardly shaped, but I had a very specific size in mind for the piece. I did cheat and use pre-primed canvas – I really did not want to spend a couple of days just priming. Spritzing the back with water soon had that canvas nice and taut though. A little more practice and I’ll get it right.

I had a week blissfully clear of appointments and non-studio stuff and what happened? My son got sick. Some kind of virus that’s really just a cold but comes with a fever that spikes on and off for, wait for it… FIVE days. Just as I was thinking I should take a look at all those doors that opened but I haven’t walked through yet. So, Universe, what is it now? I was going to call a few of those people I should have called long ago: and now? Maybe tomorrow he’d like to sit on the studio sofa and draw while I get some painting done.

Still, have finally decided that my daughter will go to the pre-K program at the public school from the fall. Some part of me gave up feeling bad and selfish because I want that extra time. Hey, if the worst-case scenarios come true it will be handy having them on the same schedule, and the same if best-case scenarios come true. Like I get enough customers for my paintings that I need to paint more hours to keep up with demand. A girl can (and will) dream!

Somewhat linked to that dream I have another goal for this year:
Actually label and file away expense receipts as they happen, keeping some kind of rudimentary accounts spreadsheet.
Yep, I thought about doing that all this year but when I came to do my taxes… yes, you guessed it, no receipts in the folder. Even if sales don’t pick up because of the recession I can at least make good paperwork habits.

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