48″x48″, acrylic on canvas, Limited Edition Prints available
Early in the summer of 2017, I was crouched down on my kitchen floor, swamped with anxiety, looking upwards from the bottom left corner of my black gessoed four-foot by four-foot canvas, towards the 576 two-inch squares I had drawn in white colored pencil which were looming over me, waiting to be filled with abstract color.
The fact is… I had wanted to use a particular photo of my huge white cat Sammy, hiding behind a hollyhock leaf in our front yard in El Portal, for quite some time. I’d done grid paintings before; this canvas, however, was to be the largest yet. I fumbled with uncertainty at the first few squares, thinking of the several hundred to come. I couldn’t breathe. Then I said, “You know what? This is happening. I made this decision, and I am fully capable of doing whatever it takes to make this project a reality. The saying ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’, is absolutely true – and I have already begun.”
Eventually, I pulled it together. The key is to start – it’s the doing that gets it done.
Over the next six months, I worked on four to five individually-designed abstract squares per day. Upon reaching the final top right corner, I turned around and continued painting, working my way back down, adding multiple layers of thick opaque color, as well as glazing. The second series of layers relied much more on iridescent and interference colors, as well as gold, silver, and pearlescent white.
When grid painting, I focus on small, basic, abstract designs; knowing that I am following a larger plan and that each unit of pattern contributes to the whole. It is a romance of symmetry and asymmetry. Building the future brick-by-brick, square-by-square, one step, one brush stroke, one rhythmic unit of pattern at a time – following the structured format fulfills the need to create a solid and cohesive finished product – with slow steady perseverance.
I am totally happy with how this canvas turned out. Sometimes I still get a little vertigo when I look at it.