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Openly Direction-less

August 2004

A self portrait in red roller-ball pen. Portraiture is, in my opinion, horribly difficult. One stray line and the likeness is tweaked and I need to scrap it. My ratio of scrap-to-keep is higher in portraiture than with any other subject matter. I set myself a couple of portrait-related standards. First, I want to show something of the feel of the person. I do not necessarily want an anatomically perfect likeness. Second, I want to use the simplest of marks to give the impression of the person. There are a number of dangers with this approach. The primary danger is turning into a caricaturist -- the likeness has to be more subtle than that. However in this month's portrait I have not achieved either of my aims and yet, I feel, it is the best of the batch. This little red number is too tight and hatching wasn't in the plan -- it just seemed right. What is in the plan, and what I intend to do the rest of this month, is to use line that is not dependent on shading, tone, cross-hatching or any other technique concerning itself with mass. Just simple line from now on.

When my grandad uses a mobile phone he applies a caution reserved for handling explosives. I photographed my grandad learning to use his new mobile phone and then drew some pictures of the same event and cobbled them together. I do not consider the result a particular success, but it is hopefully the start of more interesting experiments with photography and drawing making up the elements of a scene.

A picture/photograph montage of my Grandad learning to use his mobile phone.

I have had some amusement exploring the properties of paraffin wax and ice. I froze a bowl of water, melted some wax, took a teaspoon of the wax and poured it on the ice water, then repeated until I ran out of wax (or got bored). I think there are a number of ways to describe what these actions represent. It may be an experiment looking at the effect of time and temperature on wax formations. Obviously this is a really poor experiment -- I didn't even measure the temperature or time. Alternatively I could be using the wax to represent a unique time and temperature in much the same way each of the photographs in my montages represent a wave phase and time or a collection of musical notes and time. I prefer the second explanation as it makes me feel more competent.

A collection of wax on ice tests

Wax sample 1 was the result of pouring a teaspoon of wax onto a solid lump of ice. Wax sample 12 is the result of pouring a teaspoon of wax onto ice water. The wax samples between 1 and 12 are the result of pouring a teaspoon of wax onto a block of ice that is progressively melting.

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