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 (photographic) image by 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 had 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 had 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 (a hot wax technique) and egg tempera. Some panels 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 (black and white) 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, due to its piecemeal nature my unified and unifying vision for the back side was un-executable(!).
The project languished in a corner of my studio until 2021 when I picked it all back up. I was intrigued with the viability of my intended imagery for back side. (Anna-Back then was to be a visualisation test piece for an upcoming silverpoint project). The finally completed back side is illustrated here to the right. The thumbnail also includes a link to its full description. That page includes further links to the glueing and framing, grouting and glazing solutions described on my companion atelierartisanal.com website. The assembled “Anna” 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. It weighs about 10 pounds.