Friday, April 04, 2008

The devil is in the details "La Petite Mort"

Can you count the levels in this painting? The artist Coop graciously let me visit his studio to view his newest painting "La Petite Mort" that he is working on. I know him because he married one of my best friends from college and is a truly fascinating person. The man paid his dues to get the recognition he does for his work. Pretty amazing stuff to see in person.

Back to the levels of this painting. There is the base with the profile of two females, blue with deep red lips in a pucker. Then there is the red line skeleton grim reaper painting. Then there is a skull done in a pink halftone layered over it. The last layer he was working on when I left after lunch was the placement of a stencil of the skeleton reaper but that is getting ahead of myself.

The halftone is a recent direction in is painting in the last year or so. He indulged me on the process of getting the half tone done. For starters he took a photo of a chrome skull. Then he cropped out what he needed. Then he reversed it to a negative image, added in the halftone filter and adjusted angle and size of the dots. The halftone image was then printed on regular paper. Then that was put into a opaque projector and projected onto the canvas with the other layers already in place. Then came the tedious of painting in each and every dot.

Each dot size varied and took a difference type of stroke to get the size right. The smaller dots made it possible to go quickly down each row. Larger dots needed broader and more precise sizing. The larger ones also needed many more brush refills with each in the series. The detail photo below of the lower left corner gives you an idea of the size and variety. Imagine doing enough dots to create a skull in half tone on 2, side by side 6X6 foot panels!

There we go a short visit and a lot of appreciation for the work behind this latest big piece from Coop. I have more on my flicker set "Coop's Studio". Coop as more on his flickr "La Petite Mort" that follow the progress of the painting. He also blogged about it on "Positive Ape Index". And of course my pal Ruth has some on her flickr page as well.

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