Art in the Making

Art is a process and one in which I’d like to engage the viewer by describing each of four stages of the development of my painting, Neural Net, an acrylic on Masonite.

In Nature, networks are ubiquitous — in the tangle of crisscrossing branches or in the web of neurons or veins in the human body. Biologically, these networks perform vital functions. On another plane, removed from their utility, tangles and webs often form aesthetic patterns in themselves. Appreciation of such patterns is my motive for the original phase of the painting, Neural Net I. (Below.)


Neural Net I
Acrylic on Masonite
24″ x 49-3/8″

Once I established a foundational network, I wanted to enhance the sense of complexity and interconnectivity of the nodes without reducing the impact and comprehensibility of the basic pattern I had laid down. I chose to superimpose a second network reminiscent of an interlocking flow of rivers on the first network, primarily in the lower half of the painting. This allowed for an airiness in the upper half and a sense of breathing room. Otherwise the spaces would become too cramped and the pattern almost dizzying. (Neural Net II)

Neural Net II

Neural Net II

Still more color was needed in the same tonal range — slightly grayish — to accent the basic webwork. By adding tangles of olive green and mustard yellow, I added more visual punch, yet still cautious to do so without making the webbing so dense or complex as to lose the underlying beauty and simplicity of the network. (Neural Net III)

Neural Net III

Neural Net III

Now I added dabs of Merlot in selected interstices to enhance the painting’s focus and contrast. This anchored the painting and the eye to the lower half and nearer the middle. However I was very careful not to overdo it. By applying only a dozen or so dabs in strategic locations, I could retain the painting’s sense of openness. Any strokes I added, however, could not be Palladian or the work would seem, ironically, too orderly and too balanced. (Neural Net IV)

Neural Net IV

Neural Net IV

I welcome your comments.

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