Let’s go for a walk. We’ll start in Brooklyn Heights where we find and climb a set of steep steps up to the walkway across the Brooklyn Bridge. I once lived in Brooklyn Heights near the base of that Bridge. I was a shared fifth-floor walk-up. It was modest and close to the bridge that would serve as one of my sustaining muses.
The bridge has spent its life inspiring and challenging artists and photographers. On Instagram check out #Brooklynbridge or #Brooklynbridgeart and you can see its influence. When I visit I vary the times of day and the seasons to gather different impressions. From its foundations in Brooklyn and Manhattan I can collect differing points of view. I have walked alongside it on the parallel Manhattan Bridge. I have boated below it. I have bicycled, walked, commuted and courted across it. We have a relationship.
What follows are samples of my approach to presenting the psychological effect of the energy, motion, and various points of view to be found in my paintings. I frequently begin my process with photography.
The first two examples are just a couple of quick snapshots. Imagine lots of these snapshots. Next I start layering, compiling, and cloning them into a single image. Examples 1 through 5 should give you an idea of my program.
Example 3. Step 3, which is really more like step 27; we just skipped over the in between steps to get to this photo. It is an amalgam of many snapshots after much recomposing in Photoshop. These three images were each vertically compressed to increase the sensation of height, like a squeezed accordion.
Example 4. Step 4, Here the image has been horizontally extended. Next I manipulate the image with my Epson Printer (an 800 series which can print on a variety of materials). The image in this example was printed on Epson’s metallic paper. I also try overprint images as well as other printer-based techniques.
Eventually I ask if some of these images, collectively or individually, are inspirational enough to start improvising with them in paint. I am in the midst of that process. The next three images (examples 5 through 8) demonstrate the connection between photos and my improvisational painting program.
I may begin a painting and decide it is not promising. This happened with example 9 which began as a sunlit painting of the neighboring Manhattan Bridge. I inverted this beginning painting to see if its colors could be harvested with an over-painting of a different subject, the Brooklyn Bridge. That is the painting you see commenced in example 10.
The cross influencing relationship between photography and painting has continued since photography’s inception in the 1830’s. Before photography artists used its equivalent in the form of the camera obscura and before the camera obscura the concave lens was found to be able to project images on the artist’s canvas or panel.
I invite you to join me in my on-line classes. You may register at daviddunlop.com or at silvermineart.org.