I was talking to a good friend this weekend about the fact that I can't seem to finish things. I am full of ideas and come into the studio each day with a new direction I want to pursue. Exploration, imitation and experimentation all teach me what to do next time -- perhaps with a clearer eye to finality. But often that next time doesn't arrive because I'm onto a different idea. A perfect example is this tangent lines piece. It started as an extemporaneous exploration of color piecing.
I decided to use saturated colors that interact with each other and shatter across a black and white surface. I used the willy-nilly approach of joining the color pieces from a scrap box instead of pre-planning and cutting to fit.
The composition came together with a strong horizon line and some interaction between the shapes. I thought it was a good start and that I could play with line to exaggerate a wacky perspective. Since the two colorful figures seemed to be communicating I wanted to explore how my line work might emphasize that. I used an acetate overlay and experimented with line patterns. I drew plumes of lines coming from the tips of the forms, antennae, perspective lines and heart beat lines but wasn't happy with any of them.
The piece lingered on the design wall for over a month. Then one day I came up with the idea of adding a line at each seam just to see what would happen -- an experiment in geometry. Would the composition come together or fall apart? Would the lines impede the message? What message?
There were a whole lot of lines to add. Over 275 if I counted right. The texture of the piece changed drastically. The experiment taught me:
- lines of sight can be complicated,
- forms have a trajectory that might not be apparent to the casual observer,
- interconnectedness can have voids, and
- I wasn't sure if I really liked it.
So ... with nothing to lose I went for more experimentation.
Remember those drawings you did on the back of your math homework or your English class spiral notebook where you scribbled a line and then colored the shapes that were formed? Well, maybe you don't. But I sure do. I still do that in a vacant sort of doodling mood. It occurred to me maybe these lines and forms had even greater secrets to reveal. You know....like a fourth dimension. Perhaps if I colored in areas where the lines formed triangles it would reveal a pattern that connects. Little did I realize that there are over 200 triangles formed by these lines and some of them take a huge hunk of thread to fill in. Tedious. I'm still finding triangles to fill, still seeing triangles in my dreams. Still.
And, from what I can tell. There is no pattern that connects. Just a whole lot of lines and triangles.
I think I'll crop it, block it, and wait for the next inspiration. For now I know it is unfinished, next to three other unfinished pieces on the boards. And that might be a good thing because I learned from it. Or a bad thing because it's still a mystery and I might have to add more. It does give me more ideas to pursue. How do forms inform line work? Where do lines intersect to add more meaning? Why triangles?