Title: Structure and Chaos I
Media: Designer's gouache on Crescent #310 cold press, acid-free illustration board
Size: 40' x 30"
Original's Price: $2,200
Original(s) Available (y/n): [Yes]
Available Format: Matted prints
Size (matted): 10.25" x 8.7" (can be adjusted)
Price (matted): $40
Year of Completion: 2007
Catalog No.: 07K20
Contact the artist
Structure and Chaos marks a new shift away from what originally was to have
been a smaller-sized painting series. I felt a need to "finally let go" and
try if I could to incorporate a rapidly drawn "scribble" over a large area --
in this case over a 30" x 40" illustration board. The "scribble" took
approximately 7 seconds to draw. It was drawn while waiting for just the
right moment during a favorite piece of classical music by Phillip Glass. It
is called The Hours by Phillip Glass. Actuallty, two (3 second) scribble lines were drawn,
each about a second apart. As a side note, for those interested in the
music, 'The Hours' is 7:43 minutes in length and the section within the music
where I felt the desire to "let the lines go" began at the 4:42 minute mark
and ended at the 5:00 minute mark. I went back to find out just where the
feeling "hit me" and it came exactly between those two points in the music --
at 4:51. It's worth mentioning that there was an enormous amount of energy
that I had during the execution of these two lines. I put "everything I had"
into them -- knowing as I wildly drew them that there might possibly be
something "not of my conscious self" that would come out in them -- something
apart from my own control, yet very much an expression of my own connection
to whatever "that" was -- all at the same time -- in the rapid design. To my
surprize, I was very pleased with the resulting two lines. There was
virtually NO control in the execution. It would be safe to say I completely
let out in that one moment what had been in me. The details of the feelings
"expressed" in the scribble lines was NOT void of anger. This "came out"
quite a bit as well. The music, although very beautiful, has sections within
it that "build" much as our emotions can at times build." It felt wonderful,
to let this all be expressed!
Following the drawing of the two lines, I then very systematically designed a
series of rectangles in common-height "bands." I arbitrarily arranged them to
please the eye mainly -- breaking pattern-repetition rules so that the effect
would still convey balance. I tried NOT to have the spaces ever line up too
closely -- from one row to another -- so that there would still be a feeling
of integrity as in the layering of bricks with mortar.
I tried to establish a balance to the "wildness" of the first scribbled
lines -- see the two individual scribbles here and here -- through the use a
series of 40 rectangles. The more literal answer to the structure problem
would be to say these rectangles appear as "stacked bricks in a wall with
some separations." Structurally though, I tried to compliment the scribble
with much linearity. I tried also to "break this up" not only by separating
the rectangles, but by varying their dimensions and their placement. Unlike
several "structured" designs I have ever done, in "Structure and Chaos" I
chose to arbitrarily "pick" locations for placement varying their size and
separation sequence as I designed the piece. The way I did this was to cut
out rectangle templates and arrange them on my studio floor to see what
looked most pleasing to the eye.
The "variety" implied here has mainly to do with the various-sized
rectangles -- both in width and in height. Four (4) different heights were
used. A variety of different widths were also used. I wanted to keep the
observer's eye "busy" and "interested" rather than to "settle in" on one
predominant, and continuous repeating pattern or design.
I wanted to convey movement. The way I did this was to tilt the design
exactly 30 degrees. Another "way" of conveying motion and / or to keep the
observer's eye moving, was to incorporate the previous-mentioned "spacing" in
such a way that no two vertical spaces would ever line up too closely. If
they had, this would have "stopped" the flow of the overall design. I wanted
it to be integrated, but also separated design-wise -- which is a bit of a
In most of my paintings, I like to "have a sky." This "sky" is a
four-color sky. Technically speaking, it is ONE hue (Windsor Blue) with four
different tints. Those are marked as D, M, L and H -- meaning Darkest,
Medium, Light and Highest (in tinting). If you look carefully here you will
see that I have coded the tracing with these four letters (colors) -- next to
the arbitrary shape numbers -- for the non-rectangle "sky" areas. One of the
most difficult aspects of this painting was to very systematically go through
the sky areas and to decide WHICH of the tints (or shades) of Windsor Blue
would be used. It was a fascinating process actually since -- in the end --
I realized there would not ever be any two background areas which were
adjacent AND have the same tint or shade (after I tried so hard not to have
this happen!) This MAY have been due to the fact that TWO scribble lines were
drawn and fours colors were being used. One other fairly complex aspect of
the color coding (of the tints and shades for the rectangles only was that I
wanted THOSE choices to be opposite in terms of their contrast with respect
to ALL surounding sky areas involved. This was not easy! In some cases
there were many sky areas each of which EXTENTED to other parts of the
painting. This necessitated remembering how previous (non local) color
choices would effect areas currently being worked on.
The "scribble" or rather "scribbles" (since there were two) was the
means by which I wanted to incorporate such "expression" in the piece. Other
words which come to mind during the free-handed rapid drawing are: freedom,
anger, explosive, release, wild, unbridled, strength, and power.
Another desire of mine was to do a BIG painting. The smaller
paintings seemed too confining to me and frankly I became tired of the
intricate details of measurement in small spaces. I wanted instead to let go
a bit and to also still try to "enhance" the free-haned lines with an
I think the most complex aspect of my painting here has to do with
the background and the respective color choices (See discussion on depth) --
which themselves were based on the rectangles' edge color intensities. There
were four (4) possible "sky" color choices: lightest, medium-light, medium
and dark. The adjacent rectangle's colors ranged in tint from very dark to
very light. I sought to establish the greatest amount of contrast by
choosing colors (for the sky) which were "as opposite in intensity" as
possible to the respective rectangle's edges. Had this not been the case,
there would have been a loss in defined boundaries and a "washed out" look
would have developed. In reality, this "choice" was probably NOT techically
the "correct" way to go since objects that are superimposed tend to always
DARKEN the object over-which they lie. In art however, "anything can go," so
I opted to try to establish more contrast among the often subtle gradations
of color by "sharpening the sky-rectangle boundary. I saw this was the most
complex part of the painting also because it required quite a bit of thought
to "SEE" both background and foreground (without seeing its colors) AND to
think of their RESPECTIVE intensities as I did the color coding.
There is more than one "case" of symmetry within this painting. One
is spectral -- as in replication of the "colors in the rainbow." I tried to
"begin" with red and "go through" the sequence as it takes place in nature.
Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet. My range of colors
approximates this sequence beginning with RED in the upper left and ending
with Violet in the middle. You will notice that I then repeated the
"spectral symmetry progression" as I moved to the lower-right corner. To
create balance in the painting, I needed to REVEARSE the order of the
spectral progression (from Violet in the middle to Red at the "end.") One
other way I tried to establish symmetry was to proportionally "balance" the
rectangle band heights (and widths) such that the lower-right and upper-left
HALVES of the painting contained an equal proportion of rectangular areas of
Please see upper discussion on "Complexity."
I include this as a topic for discussion because I always like to see
if I can create an overall feeling of "I understand what he did here."
Actually, the details of that "understanding" may not readily "appear," but
the effect does I think. In its simplist form, I think the painting shows a
spectral sequence taking place. It also shows nicely arranged boxes.
Finally, it shows a "method" of unifying them through the use of a (simple)
I may sound boastful when I include this as a topic for discussion!
Actually, to be honest, I try to make my painting(s) look beautiful to the
observer. There were a number of particular times during the actual painting
of "Structure and Chaos" when I made conscious color changes to those
originally "mapped out." This was done for the sake of this "beauty" aspect.
I always enjoy seeking to create something that "speaks well" to much of
these discussions above.
Some people may not like Philip Glass's classical music. Some of it may seem
painfully repetitious or even out of key or even disturbing. Some of it I do
not like. Most of it I love. The Hours is one of my favorites. A bit of
background first though: I had just returned from my last day of work at a
full-time job I have to say was "killing" me in more ways than one. I tend to
be a morning person, but waking up at 3:30 AM to make breakfast and drive for
over an hour to go cull bad cucumbers and make "bang-up" produce displays
with new ones no longer felt like my cup of tea -- especially at that hour of
the day!. I was more interested in creating something "a bit later" each
morning -- and it was not going to be any organic cucumber display!
Upon returning home on November 4th, I looked at my blank illustration board.
I felt something coming on for me. "Tonight I would begin," I thought to
myself. "But how?" "Where would the 'lines' come from?" "What would I
design?" Could I even draw?!" I turned on the music, not conscious I would be
using it for the painting's design. I looked back again at the blank board
for what then had been about 30 minutes. Eventually I began to think it
could "move me" to do something. It did. The following is a textual time
line for the progressions I "found" in the music. It highlights the exact
point within the 7 minute and 42 seconds music when the painting literally
"began" for me.
The Hours - by Philip Glass
0:00 - A beautiful symphony begins.
0:56 - Low piano music "enters."
1:24 - High piano notes join in.
1:51 - Very beautiful violin symphony begins.
2:20 - Beautiful harp music begins.
2:47 - Beautiful sub-melody piano solo begins.
3:05 - Symphonic "traveling" music begins and repeats once with variations.
3:37 - Building begins and intensifies. Powerful!
4:05 - Key Change! Building continues and repeats once.
4:42 to 5:20 - Beauty! Release! (followed by beautiful, slowing, descending notes).
The painting begins!
5:22 - Marching. Repetition begins.
5:49 - Unexpected raised chord and / or key change. Repeats.
6:26 - Building again with dissonance. Descending. Powerful.
6:45 - Descends again. Graceful, beautiful with some last, high notes
7:06 - Ending nears. Piano notes at closing. Noticeably delayed single last note of piano: twice.
7:43 - The end.
After you have enjoyed this symphony, you may like to optionally watch a
woman named Branka Parlic play other pieces of piano music by Philip Glass.
These pieces of music are called Metamorphosis 4 and
Metamorphosis 3. I absolutely love these pieces!
She also plays The Hours without orchestral accompaniment.
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