Grid Pictures

In 2008, I came across the work of the artist Chuck Close, who became famous first for his large scale black and white portraits in the 60’s and 70’s. For the last few decades he has continued to paint giant faces, but now he uses "prismatic grids", wherein the picture surface is divided into a fantastic number of small squares. Each an abstract composition on its’ own, the combination of these disparate shapes forms a complete portrait when viewed from a distance, as a whole. He is also a photographer, and works from his own photos to create his monumental pieces.

I found his work fascinating and compelling from the moment I saw it on a TV documentary. I decided to try this technique, based on the little I had seen, so as not to "copy" his style. I chose to focus on each square as an autonomous abstract, and to free up my own creative process by using impasto, and metallic paint mixed with regular acrylic. My subject matter for the first attempt was a close up of my dog "Claude". The abstract emphasis was laid on the qualities of fur, minimal facial features, and contrasting background. "Claude" ended up winning Best of Show in the Yosemite Western Artist’s Tri-County Exhibition at Williams Gallery in Oakhurst in 2008 and also was accepted into the "Bold Expressions" show in Sacramento of that same year. The original was sold a year or so later.

Since that successful foray, I have continued to intersperse my regular artistic output with "grid" canvases, always from my own photos, and always of either animals, (my own), or, more recently, landscapes.

Baby Max

Baby Max

Acrylic on Gallery Wrap canvas, 20" x 20", limited edition prints available. This is a grid painting of my cat Max, (Maxine), when she was a tiny kitten, sitting on a flowered sheet on the bed. I simplified the background to complement the orange and white center. I used a variety of colors to create the shades in the white fur and sheet; the only black is in the black underpainting/grid lines, and eye pupils.

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Jenny

Jenny

Acrylic on canvas, 16" x 20" – limited edition prints available. In this canvas, I used my own photo which I cropped to include a pumpkin and a bit of door and blanket in the background. The main focus is my grey cat, Jenny, as she sits scowling outside of our El Portal home in early autumn. (The subtitle for this picture is "Look Who’s All Pissed Off.") I decided to interpret the grey as being blue. This gave me many options of blue shades to combine, such as turquoise and pthalo and ultramarine. The darker shadows are cooler and…

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Frank

Frank

Acrylic on canvas, 30" x 30". This painting was done as an experiment to abstract a black surface into a grid pattern with many colors. After completing the canvas, "Claude", of my white dog, I decided to try a similar approach with a close up of my black cat. The results were completely different. Whereas I found it relatively easy to depict white fur by using pastels and metallic colors, I found it difficult not to get lost in the dark colors, and harder to maintain details and imply shapes. Finally, I decided to add black mica flake in clear…

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Claude

Claude

Acrylic on canvas, 30" x 30" SOLD – limited edition prints available. I focused on each square as an autonomous abstract, and used impasto, and metallic paint mixed with regular acrylic. My subject matter was a close up of my dog "Claude". I used a reference photo about 7" x 7", printed in "grey scale", that was the result of testing the settings on a new printer. This accidental photo had no color and large areas of white with no definition. The abstract emphasis was laid on the qualities of fur, minimal facial features, and contrasting background. In 2008, "Claude"…

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Yosemite Falls in Blue and Purple

Yosemite Falls in Blue and Purple

Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas, 16" x 20" – SOLD, limited edition prints available. I wanted to focus on the design of the rock formations near the lower falls, as well as the dramatic shape and movement of the waterfall itself. I have taken many reference photos focusing on the stark and distinctive jutting outcrop to the left of the falls. This is an up close and intimate portrait of that area, rendered in cool violet and sapphire hues combined with strong metallic pearl and silvers, and interference colors. There are layers of impasto as well as glazing. I used…

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Yosemite Falls from Ahwahnee Meadow

Yosemite Falls from Ahwahnee Meadow

Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas, 24" x 30" – limited edition prints available. The squares which comprise this image are smaller than my usual diameter of 2 inches, as they are one and a half inches in size. I like the effect, but I will probably not be working that small again. The original reference photo was taken near the bike path a little ways into the woods, sort of peering out from the bushes on the edge of the meadow. It was spring, and everything was very green. I had actually just started working on a new 30" x…

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