14.10.08

In the Studio: Update 3

I'm in the final stages of the large commissioned piece for the lobby of the Hines Building in NYC. I've loosely documented the process here. The last steps involve a series of washes applied over the entire surface. This is an essential adjustment of the sheen of the surface and an introduction of another level of color and surface nuance into the larger image.

Work in Progress, one of 4 canvases, 96" x 96" overall

Before the washes, the surface appears quite smooth and shiny in a way that reads like plastic (which of course it is). If you imagine the painting as a musical passage, it would be played on a cheesy Casio keyboard - clean, bright and synthetic. The washes drastically change the timbre of the image -- so the same passage is now played on an electric guitar -- dirty, full of overtones and reverberations. The color is slightly dulled, the surface is much more matte, and the irregularities of the surface are emphasized. And just as the volume, distortion and sustain of the guitar melt the individual notes into a slab of sound, the washes tend to unify the image into a slab of color.

The paint is applied with a little hunk of plastic that is made for finishing grout. I went into a mild panic last year when Home Depot stopped carrying them -- luckily I found another source.

Here is a detail of the bottom edge after the first wash -- still wet. Installation of the painting has been delayed again as they are still finishing renovations of the space -- now it looks like early November. More updates to come.