While moving some art around this week, I found a bag of acrylics I bought early last year, when I planned to paint the Dutch camo landscapes. Trying to figure out how to do it led me to start looking more closely at the painting techniques of a whole range of works–from Dutch Golden Age landscapes to Picabia to Hard Edge to Douglas freakin Coupland–and to various paint/photograph combos.
I wanted to match the ploygonal camo colors right, so I’d looked at various digital-to-analogue conversion strategies, to extracting the Pantone colors from each polygon, then sending an autogenerated list off to some paint company, who’d produce each one for me. I was going to have the colors matched by someone. I studied the various color theories, from Goethe forward. My master painter brother-in-law would tell me about the different companies’ different pigments mixing and drying differently. I took notice just last month of how Richter knows and manipulates the drying rates of the various layers of the various paints he squeegees.
I basically ended up trying to get the painting perfect in my head. First.
Anyway, with the collection of paints I’d bought fresh in my head, after I put away the Rijksoverheid paintings, I just decided to paint one of those camo things. So I got one of the smaller prints, of the crazy camo ball over Noordwijk–yep, it’s still there— taped off the two polygons that were an identical gray, and I mixed the paint in a little tray. By looking at it, and seeing when it was done. And it matched. And so I painted those two polygons in a few minutes. And that was it.
At the second I was done, I realized I coulda/shoulda taped off some more polys and kept going, some of the other gray-family ones. I can see how the project could proceed like that, working the paints in succession to match a little family of colors. And wow, acrylic dries so fast, I could just keep right on going. Though I still have to see whether I can tape over painted photograph, or if it requires something else. Whatever, the point is, it works, and I did it, and seriously, what the hell was taking me so long to get started?
Whether it turns out to be interesting or good, of course, is another question. Which now I know I’ll be able to find out.
Previously, 09/2009: Houses of Orange