Nets, Curves and Rectangles

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Nets offer the gift of the veil with its the fog of mystery.  Nets offer enchantment by preventing full disclosure. The bride hides and hints at her beauty behind it.  We conversationally refer to the veil of mystery not, the blanket. Netting is curvaceous, flexible, and capable of motion and suggesting of form.  On the contrary, rectilinear forms are perceived as static, firm, and inorganic.

To invest an image with both rectilinear imagery versus fluid imagery as well as the tension between opacity versus semi-transparency  generates a feeling amplifying both qualities. Their contrasting qualities magnify one another. This phenomena of perceived contrast as the amplifier of experience holds true throughout the scope of human perception whether with color, value, size, or texture.

The rectilinear can be presented subtly, through fractured and blurred horizontals and verticals. Rigid horizontals and verticals can mutate into curves or, stand in contrast to a meshy net of curves.  The netting  helps imply soft forms. The netting  offers the sensation of space through its perforations.  Andrew Wyeth caught this tension with static verticals versus the windswept translucence of netting in his “Pentecost” (example 1).  In 1920, Man Ray photographed this image he called “Moving Sculpture” which gives the fragile fluttering of fabric a feeling of movement held in check by steel girders (example2).  Teruhide Kato overlaid a veil of cherry blossoms over architectural forms ((example 3).

Example 1. Andrew Wyeth, egg tempera,

Example 2, Man Ray, silver gelatin photo print,

Example 3, Teruhide Kato, woodblock, 1992,

Layering photographs can create a feeling of natural netting with a capacity for motion as you see in examples 4 and 5.

Example 4. Leaves float in layers, Photo.

Example 5, Layers of grass float as a net on and in water, Photo.

While wandering through a Connecticut meadow I found a tumble of felled grasses. Their piling created the feeling of an armature for some invisible form beneath.  I present steps one and two of this image in examples 6 and 7.

Example 6. Step one, oil on brushed silver enameled laminated aluminum, Omegabond.

Example 7. Step two, of the meadow grasses.

Neil Welliver’s study for a beaver lodge demonstrates a fractured net of  verticals can be composed into a soft form.  His structure makes an easy comparison with my example 7. Welliver’s use of contrasting verticals (trees) help to unify the image with a strong feeling of contrast.  See example  7a.

example 7a. Neil Welliver beaver lodge study.

In example 8 observe the contrast of example 7’s soft grass built forms  against this rectilinear matrix which feels architectural. This example was presented in a previous blogpost but, this image demonstrates  later revisions and additions.

Example 8, Urban Matrix, oil.

Step-by-step image sequences can reveal how images are built in layers. Here is a sequence which begins by layering different colors beginning with yellow (example 9) to reds and deep blue (example 10) to mixed pastels and texturing (example 11) to adding a net of small shapes  across the surface (example 12).

Example 9, step one, yellow.

Example 10, step two, reds and deep blue.

Example 11, step three, mixed pastels and texturing.

Example 12, step four, present state with net of small shapes.

The final example presents fractured horizontals colliding and blending to create a vibration of motion coupled to a feeling of surface (example 13).

Example 13, Autumn Pool, oil, on enameled laminated aluminum24x24.

A reminder: This week I have a series of workshops at Jerry’s Art of the Carolinas in Raleigh Durham, N.C.  From Friday November 11 through Sunday November 13th.   The Friday workshop, 9 am to 4 pm, “Painting Reflections in Glass, Water and Other Surfaces”. The Saturday workshop is also 9am to 4 pm “New Trends: Merging Paint the Digital Photography”. The Sunday workshop, 9 am to 4 pm “Abstracting Nature, from Meadows to Flora”.  To register call: 800 827 8478 ext 156.

This April 20-23, 2017 the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach sponsors of workshop with me; two days on location and two days in the studio. Call Sara Bass at 904-280-0614 x 204 or register at .


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