Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Painting: 'Pizza'

Pizza 2009, 5.5 X 8" Acrylic on illustration board

The one problem, or should I say, ‘feature’ of my technique is that I can’t make anything lighter once it’s painted. I don’t use any white paint and have no way of correcting an error of that sort.

This means patiently building up layers of thin washes, carefully avoiding putting paint on anything that will appear white in the finished image.

‘Pizza’ clocks in at an absurd 419.5 hours. Lots of darkness in the image, lots of detail. Things that make my paintings take a long time. Makes me want to do a white building in the snow next but I don’t have any winter images from which to work.

With winter finally entrenched in Montreal, I’ll have to head out with the camera and see what happens. In fact, I have a particular white building in mind!

‘Pizza’ is my first Montreal image. I seem to have successfully managed the mental transition to the new place I call home.

I took the photo over a year ago, returning to a place I’d been (without my camera) several months before. I was thankful the sign was still there but then, this is a part of town that isn’t exactly booming.

There too was the same guy (or someone just like him) in front of a tattoo parlour, having a smoke, fixing me with a bemused smirk. I was too annoyed by his ‘I own the sidewalk’ stance to let him put me off.

Admittedly, this is the kind of thing that usually does put me off but I said to myself ‘Artist at work, pal!’ while I took a couple of photos.

As I leave the scene, I usually feign interest in some random object across the street or look at my camera as though checking its settings. Avoiding eye contact at all cost!

I have fantasies of an empty city in which to photograph. No cars parked in front of houses. No guy on a cell phone standing in front of the only store on the block you want to shoot.

On foot, I’ve circled blocks waiting for people to clear out or for cars to leave the twenty minute zone they’ve been in for half an hour.

One would think that after sixteen years of this, I would have sorted out a painless routine for picture taking but it remains something I do out of grudging necessity rather than pleasure.

The world is full of confused, irate store owners and stupefied, slack-jawed onlookers and they are legion when I leave the house with my camera.