Planes, Grids and Curves

Today is another in my grid series (see Seeking Inspiration, Abstract with Grids and Circles, Harlequin Pattern).

I drew two sets of intersecting lines, hiding the vertex of one of them by the unobstructed plane formed by the other. Then I divided each into a grid of rectangles, which gradually distorted into rhombus shapes. I also varied the colors. On the right-hand plane, I painted warmer reds at the top, cooling to blues and greens at the bottom of the paper. The other plane is composed of shades of yellows and purples, with no planned spatial organization. I drew a circle to cover a good portion of the plane on the left and shaded it to give it a three-dimensional look.

Watercolor: Abstract - Planes, Grids and Curves

Planes. Curves and Grids
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Block

I was hoping that some sort of meta organization would become evident in this study. I thought that perhaps some unconscious process would reveal a deeper meaning to my grids and curves. Maybe I’ll see something if I put it aside and come back to it later.

Harlequin Pattern

This is the third in my series of abstract sketches using checked patterns within triangular shapes.  In this version, the vertices of each triangle are more acute than the previous sketches (Seeking Inspiration and Abstract with Grids and Circles).  The visual planes set up by the triangles are subdivided into grids of diamond shapes instead of the nearly square grids of my first two efforts.

As in my other studies, I include arcs and portions of circles. I know that the triangular planes and circles are part of my visual alphabet. I will continue to develop designs to ‘make visible’ (in the parlance of Paul Klee, Bauhaus Master) what is in my basic makeup. At this point I really don’t want to hash out an artist’s statement to state my purpose in words. My work method (at least for the next couple of studies) will be to explore planes, grids, circles and lines and hopefully arrive at an expression of my inner driving force.

Will keep you posted.

Watercolor: Abstract with Harlequin Pattern

Abstract with Harlequin Pattern
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Block

When I’m Sixty-Four

My brother called me up today on the videophone. I was amazed at that technology when I first saw it back in 1964 at the World’s Fair in Flushing, NY.  Fantastic things were to come.

I answered the phone and my brother didn’t speak at first. I just saw him at the piano playing an old Beatle’s tune. Even though he didn’t sing the words, they resonated in my head. “When I am old and losing my hair MANY YEARS FROM NOW…”  [emphasis added]

That ‘many years from now’ is actually NOW!!


Abstract with Grids and Circles

Two of the artists I most admire (Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky) painted according to their philosophies. Kandinsky had a theory about how colors are related to shapes. I don’t recall the the associations in his theory, but perhaps the color red might be associated with a circle, blue with a square and yellow with a triangle.  He could apply those rules (and others coherent with his larger philosophy), to his ideas and produce a masterpiece of visual color and shape composition.

Klee thought that the role of the artist was to ‘make visible’ his or her internal ideas. He had particular notions about design that he taught at The Bauhaus, which were compiled into two major Notebooks, still available today.

Both Klee and Kandinsky were musically inclined (Klee was an accomplished violinist, and Kandinsky worked with Arnold Schoenberg) and applied principles of musical composition to their visual works.

I am playing with visual design, and I have ideas that I want to make visible but (for now) I haven’t married the two together.  Below are some of the visual elements I hope to incorporate into a symphony, someday.

Watercolor: Abstract with Grids and Circles

Abstract 072616
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Block

Seeking Inspiration

I was running low on ideas, so I pulled out one of my books about Kandinsky. This book must weigh about 20 pounds. I love the oversized colorful prints inside.

I did get some ideas, and created the abstract below.

Watercolor: Abstract - After Kandinsky

After Kandinsky
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Block

I like the two planes set up by grids of distorted squares. The remaining lines (unsquared) reminded me of a harp, so I included an earth-toned scroll. The planes could also be pages of a book, and the scroll could be a mustache. I love ambiguity.

Abstract – Membrane

A couple of splashes of liquid latex, wait, and then think of what to do.  At first I was thinking of splashing paint in the same manner as the latex and look at the interplay of the pigments and the negative (white) space left when the latex is removed.

Instead, I inserted a double arc, creating an inside and outside. The splashes became denizens of their respective domains.

Watercolor: Abstract - Membrane

Abstract – Membrane
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Block

My process seems to involve making random marks and after looking at them, ascribing a narrative. It is a bit like picturing the randomness of the universe and imposing meaning.

Portrait – Abstract

I liked the form of yesterday’s portrait. But in a sense it was ambiguous. The upper part of the face told the story.

In today’s study, the lower part of the face adds another clue about the emotion in this abstract portrait.

Watercolor: Abstract Portrait with Emotion

9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Block

Is This Really Necessary?

I was at the hospital the other day. I took a picture of a sign in one of the step-down unit rooms.

In general it is not a good idea to make assumptions but some things are very basic. Kudos to the committee that approved this sign. There is no telling how many injuries the warning sign, pictured below, helped to avoid.

Photograph: Is This Sign Really Necessary


Toilet Retrieval System

I published another post today (see “Is This Really Necessary?”) which posed the question about the necessity of posting a sign instructing one to keep his or her hands out of the toilet.

Fortunately, the above-mentioned toilet was equipped with a tool that made the use of one’s hands unnecessary.

Photograph: Hand Replacement

Of course, I assume this tool was intended to retrieve cloths and wipes from the toilet (although why this should be necessary is a mystery to me). Use of this tool to retrieve cloths and wipes from anywhere else would undoubtedly be a painful proposition.


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