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.