‘If you look upon an old wall covered with dirt, or the odd appearance of some streaked stones, you may discover several things like landscapes, battles, clouds, uncommon attitudes, humorous faces, draperies, etc. Out of this confused mass of objects, the mind will be furnished with an abundance of designs and subjects perfectly new.’
From this advice that Leonardo DiVinci's gave to a pupil I created a series of work over the last decade. It has become a means of relaxing exercise, a way to passively react with my creativity. I find it interesting that it spurs memory of places that I visited. Many refer to the abandonded flooded
granite quarries that I swam in my younger days. Little did I realize how the rusting machinery and massive stone escarpements combined with the light of Cape Ann captured my visual sensibilities.
Cape Ann is a granite pennisula that juts out into the atlantic and in the warmer seasons has a golden afternoon light that the painter Fitz Hugh Lane (Fitz Henry Lane) captured so well, as you can see in his painting Stage Rocks and Western Shore of Gloucester Outer Harbor.
Along with this light are shadows that read a deep black, especially in the fall. This plays out in my work as marked contrasts either in color or compositional shifts. You can see these shifts in the four semi-abstract plaster drawings shown below.
In 2011 the Tate published an
informative piece on this method of working and the different approaches artist have used. Here is the link if you are interested: