Wednesday, March 23, 2016

End of day #4: Another full day up and down the scaffold at the School of the Integrated Arts in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. 

All surfaces have had at least two passes of development. Some figures are emerging through charcoal line work. Doubt is giving way to inspiration. I changed a couple of panels from last year that were bugging me. A Bacchus figure is gone. A couple of fetuses, the so-called "precious twins" of Mesoamerican mythology came in. I am still on the Pythagorean "music of the spheres" vs. indeterminacy thing but have not yet pulled string to make arcs at intervals...that should be fun. There are some stinker parts that remain but it is starting to take shape. 

End of day #3: Mural work at the School of the Integrated Arts (Escuela Municipal de Artes Integradas, EMAI) Santa Ana, Costa Rica. 
All surfacers are now covered with at least a base layer of "de-calced" and stumbled paint and most have two or more layers with a degree of formal development. I am staying with abstract geometry overlaying the texture layer, particularly on the long frieze, which measures about 75' wide on this side and about the same on the other, already painted. The ancient notion of the Music of the Spheres, Pythagorean harmonic intervals and indeterminacy remain of interest to me. I plan to stretch a string to establish drawn arcs in charcoal, at standard (Pythagorean) harmonic intervals, for integration in the base layer. Not sure what I want to do with the larger (now ochre) panels but some of the arcs may descend. 

End of day #2:  When one does mural work one has a lot to time to contemplate this and that. Something about being up high, in this case braced against strong gusts of wind, and a few “bombetas” going off every little while, strangers walking by muttering…and me, throwing color around, is like being under the influence of a fine existential wine, big and red, of course. 
The mural cycle I am creating has been, from inception, about origins, personal and cultural transformation through the integration of the arts. 
This last section I am doing now is half a block from the ascending hoard of figures I painted the first couple of years, figures that invoke dance, theater, music and of course the plastic arts. The further from those tall panels the more abstract my thinking has become. Perhaps it is the horizontal axis of the architectural panels rather than the vertical. Running up is different than running across. Extension versus ascension. 
The ancient mathematical-mystical concept of “The Music of the Spheres” is suggested by orbs and arcs in the flow of color racing along the frieze I am painting. I think it was originally a Pythagorian notion. Vibration and motion, sound and color, proportion and intervals. Hmmm. I might play that up a bit more…I recall learning to play harmonics on the violin as a kid. I was fascinated that by lightly touching the string in just the right place harmonic tones were created. A little off, nada—or worse, a screech.

Yet this ancient idea sought musical and mathematical order and certainty. Ours is a time of the Uncertainty Principle. I like to think art plays in the badlands between the two. Neither too calculated and cold—nor overly spontaneous and perhaps chaotic. That is what I am doing, I feel, mediating between these two poles. 
These shots show the second wave of glazes and veils. More to come. I have one more large panel to paint with the first base layer. My colleague and the school’s director and founder, Jorge Acevedo, has personally prepared the surfaces for me, making it possible to dedicate myself to the art itself. He is a wonderful host and moreover, my friend of more than 30 years.
The main panels from 2010-2015 around the corridor from the work I am doing now.

End of day #1. I painted the base layer on the upper frieze and columns. Windy and hot and so the paint was drying very fast. Nothing on the large panels yet. This is of course Holy Week and so there are parades, horses and colorful carts plus explosions that nearly knocked me off of the scaffolding. Feels good to be working.

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