One of the skills that one needs to mature is a sense of continuity across the canvas. There are ten pairs of these Upper Ignudos, or the ones over the thrones, and for the painting to work and be consistent, they all need to be at a similar level of detailing. With each layer, one tries to bring them all closer together, and in time, roughly about layer 4, they all come into balance. These figures are all around layer 3. My next run through should have them all singing in harmony with each other.
My ultimate goal for the Chicago Event was to make The Agony & The Ecstasy presentable, because it is a piece that I will be working on for a long time, maybe the rest of my life. Now what I mean by presentable is that the figures are basically recognizable, layout of the majority of scenes completed, and defining a sense of lighting and atmosphere. Not perfect, but rather a base or foundation of matter as defined between dark and light. The Devil is in the details . . . I can paint into infinity between those two extremes alone, for the rest of my life. Slowly going back and forth, like waves upon an edge that never truly get defined. Xeno’s Paradox! Each layer, bringing the character into focus, form evolving before your eyes, but never completely revealing itself.
For these ‘bottom’ Ignudos, you can see the level of detail in the reference figures, and the state of the rest of that class. Now to bring all the other figures up to that Standard, starting with the one I believe is the weakest, and then in that order, finish them until I finish the final one. Then, at that point, that last one I take even further and make that figure the standard and repeat the process.
It is through this massaging of the form that each layer is tied to the next, like chapters in our lives. In the end, the we that we become is a magnificent tapestry of layers woven through time.
Art is the best way to learn about one’s self, as well as being a tool to redefine one’s self. The Self that you are Willing yourself to be.
In Chicago for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Both my pieces, Agony & Ecstasy and Singularity are being displayed in an exhibition to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the completion of Michelangelo’s Ceiling.
10 days to go . . . it will pretty much be sleeping and painting from here on out. I have holed up within my bedroom and it is here I will be residing for the most part until this painting is done. It has been very slow going over the past 3 days, but I have been making a lot of progress. I am on schedule, but I am also depending on a sort of accelerated learning curve as I see how far into the details I have time to go. What is important is that the level of detailing be congruent across the entire piece. Today was an important trial and I am gaining momentum.
In my mind, as I progress across the canvas, I have to chart out a sort of pathway that will take me to the completed image. I constantly have to adjust the time schedule and pathway as I come across new obstacles within the painting I have to overcome. Sometimes I gain ground, and sometimes I lose it. What is most important is maintaining momentum. If I do not, then exhaustion begins to creep into the edges of my focus.
At this point, I am working on this piece in my dreams each night as well. Within the dreams, I find myself working on aspects of the painting I am having trouble with, and using the dream state I resolve the issue. When I wake up, I know exactly what to do next.
There is a reason to this madness though. A reason to why I am pushing myself as I am. In 2007, with the completion of the first MasterWork, that year I knew I had it to make a go at becoming a professional artist. In 2008, I gave myself 5 years to make it. These five years I promised myself I would give to my practice comes to an end this year. I began Agony & Ecstasy that year as well with the intent that it sort of be my graduation piece at the end of the 5 year run.
So, here we are, 10 days left . . . will I make it, I hope so. Magic 8 Ball says “Yes.”
Here is a video of the beginning stages of this piece from 2008 . . . back then this piece had a working title The Ceiling until this year when its name became obvious.
It has been a struggle, but I have slowly been able to build up a nice groove in the final stages of this piece. It takes a great deal of focus to maintain the edge created between the mind and the brush tip. To keep control of your hands and be able to replicate exactly what it is your imagination is seeing. There is so much doubt when one is pushing themselves beyond their envelope, but that is how we evolve, is it not? To test ourselves, push ourselves, challenge ourselves, sharpening every aspect of our process and practice. 10,000 hours . . . mastery is earned . . . almost there.
Communication is the most important part of this process. Communication between your mind and hands and communication of your idea through the image and upon the eyes of the audience. Can you capture the energy and essence of what it is you feel in your piece. Does the composition align properly with the eyes sense of movement. How deep does the vision go. It can be gone in a fleeting instant and snap right out of existence. Like tiny supernovae going off in your mind, little snippets of stories and ideas, you need to be able to capture them without hesitation. Like dreams, they are fragile . . . but they each, fragments of infinity, sooner or later make sense, and the more you capture, over time, the clearer the pattern comes into focus . . . matter manifests . . .
Mother <> Mater <> Matter
Father <> Pater <> Pattern
The 12 Prophets and Sibyls
. . . and 11 Days left!