The figures in my paintings are based on sketches of the most rudimentary skeletons of shapes, based on what I take to be essential, a sort of Golden Mean in my way of thinking. The form that most interests me is the type that suggests knots, for example; or the repeated swoops and dips and upheavals of weather viewed on tracking gizmos; or the touch and thrust of various choreographic notations; or the seemingly endless whorls of ridges on your finger tip; or the somewhat repeated pattern of dimples on the skin of an orange ; or the husk of a dried beetle; or hand-written notes, the facility of its transcriber witnessed in delicate slashes, loops, and puncts; or the misshapen ovals of a topographic map; or the edge of a plastic bag which has been torn and features an ordered arrangement of waves contained in waves; or the simple tangled mass of a ball of yarn tossed casually aside.
The initial drawing is done quickly on gridded paper: it's a throw-off intended to just limn the idea of a shape which interests me.I begin with the outline of a form, which I fill with a pattern, something seen in the world around us such as the repeated rectangles and circles seen on the shell of a turtle, or the flutes of a column, or the marks left behind by a low grit sandpaper on a panel of plywood. The quickness of the drawing is evinced by the casual quality of the lines, thinness giving way to thickness, slanting where a perpendicular might be expected, haphazard where a systematic order might be desired. However, if we observe the patterning on a maple leaf, for example, even one which has wilt or blight, there is indeed a regularity, but one which is not necessarily Euclidean in its geometry.
The lines on the drawing are outlined, using the background grid as a template for determining where the outline should be placed. I have chosen an oval shape on which to paint rather than a square or rectangle. The shape is cut out quickly, in the same manner as the drawing is made, without reference to any guides, which lends the finished oval an unbalanced and possibly unfinished quality. I begin the painting by determining, by eyeballing, where I believe the figure will be centered. It often turns out not to be, but I never correct the initial placement. I am not looking to create a perfectly symmetrical piece or one that implies some sort of ideal form: I am allowing the work to be produced according to rules I attempt to strictly adhere to, in the same way that we apply rules to things observed in nature, such as Boyle's Law or the angle of repose of a particular granular material,but with a sympathetic view. I use the drawing as a roadmap, each square of the grid paper becoming a single brushstroke in the painting. I don't lay down a grid to work upon on the painting surface: I attempt to paint the rows and columns in as straight a formation as I can, working as though I am writing, left to right, which means that a line may, on occasion, sag or expand, or that a column may sway, but when viewed at a distance the form still retains its "wholeness." The hand drawn quality of the lines and columns is less "pixelated" than "built" in the manner of a bricklayer: a slow method of duplication, yet a signature.
Consider the smallest pieces of information we perceive, the motes of an angle, a suggestion. A sketch of an idea which can then be photo-copied is arguably expendable. What is the value of a painted copy of a rough drawing?