Back in the 1970’s, I did a series of “tiled paintings” (what I now refer to as Deconstructed Realism). Principally the idea is to break up a found image through exploring the different media that have traditionally been used to create art. I did three such projects at the time, and was preparing to do a fourth, when my direction in art and in life changed.
However I had already asked a local carpenter to cut twenty five identically sized hardwood blocks for this new project. I had envisioned it as a double sided painting so I asked him to drill a hole exactly down the centre of each panel. I pictured five rows of five panels each that could swirl interactively, front to back, somewhat like an abacus. Well, that was my idea back in the day. Still, I set it all aside, packed up my little blocks and moved out west to explore a new chapter in my life.
Fast forward about thirty years and I finally decided to pull those little blocks out of storage. I still wanted to use them to create a double sided painting and decided that portraiture would be the best genre for such a project. But I had not decided upon any particular subject until a friend of mine (Anna) became seriously and unexpectedly ill. My choice then became clear. I located a photograph of her that I liked, secured the copyright and set to work.
For the front panels I used the mixed technique (a hybrid of oil and egg tempera), Dorlan’s cold wax tempered with oil, encaustic (hot wax), and egg tempera. Some were pre-treated with collage elements while others were textured with a light relief. Still others were left untreated ( before the application of the chalk gesso ground). They all were painted in a full chromatic range as well as a full range of values. See the detail images included here above, left and right. This front side was completed in 2011, though because of its piecemeal nature it was undisplayable. 😦
Additionally, I did not see how to execute the back side so that the whole piece could be displayed. The project languished then in a corner of my studio until 2021 when I picked it all back up. The back side can be seen here, the glueing and framing solution here.
The assembled piece measures 44.5 x 63.5 cm or 17 1/2 x 25 inches. When framed it measures 50 x 70 cm or 19.6 x 27.5 in.