Saturday, April 12, 2014

Study for "What is North, Anyway?" acrylic painting

I was thinking the other day about the seemingly arbitrary nature of 'North' and 'South' - someone at some point in time picked those concepts to orient us to the magnetic poles of the Earth and maybe to relate to the orbit of the Earth and moon around the Sun. What is North, really, but one end of a magnetic pole? But we're constantly orienting ourselves in relation to 'North' - when we drive in our cars, when we're hiking in the mountains, when we're looking out the window of an airplane.

I was thinking about the idea of drawing a map with the freeways as thick lines and coloring the surrounding areas with blocks of color. I've seen some really interesting map-art in the last few years, including Paula Scher's maps. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with a map-painting, but I primed a wood board and pulled out a scrap gelli print on bristol paper to use as a study. I drew a basic outline of the main freeways around Los Angeles on the paper using a green marker:
Then I filled in the areas with color.
Then I thought about rotating the painting and continuing from there, which is when I started thinking again about the idea 'What is North, Anyway" and how I could use that as another way to get art ideas flowing when I can't think of something to paint. It doesn't have to be freeways - it could be an outline of a familiar object, like a chair or a strange building across the street. Like Carla Sonheim's sidewalk cracks. Sketch the outline, then turn it sideways and see what other ideas come to mind.
When I turned this painting, I saw the idea of thick blue lines, so I painted what I thought should be there.
I'm pleased with the result so far. It seems very abstract. I'm not sure what I'll do with it next, or what I'll do with the wood board - I did add some pink lines to the board representing freeways.

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