Though I’ve stuck to my commitment of doing a sketch a day, the results are less than stellar. One night, in pajamas and in bed with my sketch pad and Miss Rosa Parks, I decided to use the little dog as subject matter. Rosa doesn’t sit well for photographs and, it turns out, she’s not much of an artist’s model, either. I had only her little nostrils drawn when she moved away. I started again, and had the perfect outline of one ear when she moved again. I got one line tracing her back from shoulders to tail when she flopped on her side. I set it aside and went to sleep. The next day, I used the same page for a sketch of my dinner napkin. On other days, it was my water glass, an edge of blanket or the corner of a room. Nothing much, and nothing finished.
I did manage a few hours in my studio this week. I now have twenty-eight small collage-paintings underway. I’ve been working on them in groups of four; each set has similarities in color and collage elements. My goal is that, when finished, each painting would stand on its own, but that they would also look good all displayed together. I don’t want it to look like a bunch of “sets of four,” but like a cohesive group of twenty-eight or maybe a hundred, if I get that far.
To pull them together, I mixed them up and arranged them on the floor. Then I chose a procedure, a color, and other factors to merge the disparate pieces. First, I used the wrong end of a paint brush to make tiny dots in a meandering line with copper-colored iridescent paint. Forty dots, with the line starting on one piece and finishing on the next. Not every painting got this treatment, but maybe six pairs did. Then I rearranged the paintings. Next, a tiny brush to make little teardrop shapes in large arcs of deep blue. Again, the pattern went from one piece to the next. Then rearrange. I continued this way through several procedures, sometimes a bold dotted line in a subtle color, other times a bright color with a more timid mark.
I want the paintings to share characteristics, but not to shout it. Even if these little details go unnoticed, they should serve to make the pieces relate to each other when displayed together. I have a long way to go before these are finished…but I like the way they’re coming along.