A little break down analysis this week on a recent robot painting, Fragility. Executed as a personal piece in my growing Empathetic Robot series exploring atypical situations and moments in the science fiction genre.
24″ x 18″ Oil on Panel 2018
As with nearly all my works, the process begins in the abstract thumbnail. This particular composition was lurking on my ‘wish wall’ for a few years before I was able to find the time and clarity to bring the piece to resolution. The beauty of an abstract is that the particulars of details are not resolved, thus a feeling or emotion I am attempting to convey, may find itself finished as a science fiction narrative, fantasy image, or some other exploration. These solutions may have their particular derivative flavor, but stay true to the initial impulse.
In this instance, the emotional connection I had with this figure was around something valuable, something precious. As you can see in the abstract thumbnail and preliminary drawing, I initial thought that should be related to a liquid, ie. the water of life. But in the end, the direction led to a slight different conclusion.
The larger preliminary drawing allows me to solve physical traits of illusion I wish to chase after – anatomical mimicry, direct and bounce lighting conditions, dynamic compositional design devoid of horizon lines, framing, structural wire framing, etc. These are tested upon and developed in line and shading before having to commit color and heavy edge control in oil paint. The freeing up of much of this problem solving in black and white allows me to explore other aspects of painting in the later phases of color application.
Taking a look at this image in black and white, you can see that the limitation and focus of light effects and contrast were already hinted at within the preliminary drawing. I had an idea to chase after this limiting light control to strengthen the focusing power of the composition.
The choice of enforcing a limit of contracting values was also complemented in the limiting choice of color. By pixelating the mage, you can see a bit more clearly the small saturation flare for the item of precious worth, the increase in saturation around the joints of the robot in the light as well as a hue shift framing part of the head. All of these elements occupy space in proximity to the center of interest I wish the viewer to cycle around with their gaze.
Yet, given these constraints of vale and color, there is still plenty of room to embellish the image with detail, playful textures, and wonderful color plays within the shadows, secondary points, and focus areas. Isn’t that what art is all about…PLAY!