Wednesday, September 5, 2012

concepts and layers

Further development of my list of conceptual words has provided me with a wealth of ideas to work with. Perhaps it is my librarian background, but I found myself wanting some organization of them (and alphabetization would not do). There were almost too many to consider at any one time. So I created a loose grouping of the words into some eight or ten broader categories, none of which I defined or labelled. They are intuitive rather than logical, though I'm sure that I used some kind of logic in the groupings.

I like this. As I approach creating a new layer on a painting, my first impulse is to decide what I want to do in terms of color -- whether to contrast or complement what is already on the canvas, for example. My next step is to determine the conceptual content of the new layer. Now I can choose, not a single word but rather a group of words that has meaning for me and for the painting. I find using a group more freeing and stimulating than a single word. I have posted a piece of paper that shows the various groupings on the wall of the studio, and I occasionally add a word to one or more of them. It is a little corner of verbal creativity in my otherwise non-verbal work area.

The image above is of a piece I started in Telluride, and to which I applied my then-new approach of a concept-per-layer. It is not finished, indeed it only has four or five layers on it, but I can still see some conceptual work: strata, complexity, stability, scratchiness, fluidity. I hadn't developed my groupings yet, but still, each concept does come from a different group, as it turns out.

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