COG10 Copy
City of Glass 10 - (StillmanStillman)   120x200cms


THURS 30 MAY 2013


Hard day. Problems with the drawing of the brown-figure and its' weight. The center line/canvas divide caused complications. The breakthrough came when I switched canvases: the figures now follow each other (and the viewer gfoolows them) into an enigmatic space. Is it enough? To test the painting I'll introduce a subtle grid tomorrow to identify location. Love, love, love the horizontal, the attention drawn to the central divide by the white canvas and the curiosity of the repeated pose. Strange piece.


COG10 5 Copy
in the studio


COG10 4 Copybefore the canvas-switch



COG10 3 Copyday 3

In defiance of Matisse's dictum: '....whoever wishes to devote himself to painting should begin by cutting out his tongue..' and perhaps because I this series is inspired by words, by text, words are flowing irresistibly and helping clarify ideas and understanding of the paintings.

I am fascinated by the idea of twin-paintings/pair of paintings/diptych and the power of the space between them and the central  dividing line. The idea for this painting goes back to the novel*. Author/detective Quinn has an assignment to follow Stillman, recently released from jail, who is arriving at New York's Grand Central Station, on the 18.41 from Poughkeepsie. Quinn has a photo (several years old) and spots Stillman, wearing a shabby brown overcoat, and starts to tail him. But incredibly he sees another man, whose face 'was the exact twin of Stillman's'. Paralysis: Quinn knows he is in the hands of fate, of chance. Forced to choose, he follows the second Stillman but after a few paces has a change of mind and follows the first Stillman. 

The intention with this painting is to involve the viewer with Quinn's dilemma: which Stillman to follow? The viewer becomes Quinn - the near life-size figures and the split canvas help achieve this. 

Not there yet. I have yet to think about colour, my paints are still not fully unpacked and laid-out and in my impatience I have been grabbing anything to hand. The grid of Manhattan is beginning to go in but I'm not yet sure of the scale. The blue strip on the right will stay, representing the East River and I'm happy with the position of my 42nd St, (the main horizontal). I'll make a point of Grand Central Station, currently the rose block on the canvas, but shall try it straddling the central-divide. Whatever I decide, this line will be one of the avenues. The figures need to be locked into the background more - they are floating about. Blue may spill/flood into the right-side or the dirty pink may darken and match the tone of the brown overcoat.

The figures have changed a lot. First, the left-hand figure was walking towards the viewer and the right-hand figure away. Then they were both coming forwards. Then I had the idea that each figure, each canvas, would be near-identical, each including Grand Central Station. This would be like two frames on a film, divided by the Central line, but in my painting, the figures lacked movement but I'll try this again in another piece.


COG10 2 CopyDay 2: p.m.


COG10 1A CopyDay 2: a.m.

 COG SB2 CopySimon Bor 'in character'

*'The New York Trilogy' by Paul Auster