In trying to decide what individual piece of my artwork that I wanted to write about I realized that I don’t think I’ve written anything at all this year about my prints. Prints that I draw, scan in, and then compose and color on the computer. I’ve been doing them for a while that way. I pulled one out of my earliest prints to write about. It’s called “Soon the Forces of Gravity WIll Make Themselves Known To All” (15X10 inches). It’s easy to know the name of because its name is part of the print. The words are right there in large letters. By looking at the file modification date of the file on my computer I can see that I finished this one back in October of 2000. I did not realize that I had begun doing these such a long time ago. Time really does fly.

The first thing I notice about this print is that it’s really busy. That is what I was going for in these early prints because the computer can help in exploring complexity in ways that would be very hard to do without one. I tend toward simplicity which offerers its own problems but simplicity is as easy to do by hand as on a computer. No, this is an image that is woven together in a complex way that I wouldn’t have even thought of doing by hand.

Most of the prints I make these days are single drawn images. By that I mean they are on one piece of paper. I draw a picture, I scan it in, color it, and maybe I add some type. This one is not made that way. The image on the right of the woman and man on the bridge is from a series of extemporaneous ink drawings that I made a little before I started making these prints. I’d grab an eight by ten inch piece of paper, a brush, some black ink, some white ink, and just start drawing. They weren’t all winners but I liked this one.

The other parts of the drawing, the lips, the man with the cane, and the striped balls in the bowl, were all from small sketches that I had lying around. This was from right about the time I started my first inkbook and so I didn’t have the vast number of small drawings to mine for ideas that I do today so I’m not exactly sure where those other images came from. They might be in my first inkbook or they might be from loose pieces of paper that I drew on and had lying around at the time. Either way I worked them out as full drawings after they were sketches. At least for the man with the cane and the balls. The lips could be a small drawing scanned in and colored. The clock I remember making right on the computer in Adobe Illustrator. It’s modeled after the clock that’s on my shelf. I can’t remember why I wanted a clock right there but I like clocks. I probably found it interesting.

The color bars and blocks are a holdover from my painting. I’ve been mixing in blocks of color with my images since my earliest fine art paintings back in college. Geometry and color are my things. They lend themselves very easily to Adobe Illustrator too. Since this print is about complexity I have a lot of color bars and blocks here. Plus they’re organized in a way I’d never be able to do by hand. The spacing of them very much lends itself to the computer. I can nudge any individual block up or down just a tad or repeat the same box over and over making then an exact distance apart.

I can really see that I was going for complexity when I look at the type. I’ve got five different typefaces in that one sentence. I generally hate that as a design choice and it makes me wince a little here but I can see that I did it on purpose. My desire for complexity beat out my sense of good taste. I’m sure I tried it as all one typeface and decided it didn’t work that way with the complexity theme but five typefaces in one sentence still bugs me a little bit. I’m not even sure what “Known To All 7962” is supposed to mean. Probably nothing. It balances out the type on the top and adds a little mystery. I often like to add a little mystery.

Repetition is also a big part of this piece. That’s another thing that the computer makes easy. The man with the cane appears four times each time scaled down a little bit. This reinforces his appearance and makes him appear to go back in space. The green bars weave in and out of his legs and cane in a way that gets playful with the space. We also have the lips shrink down in conjunction with the cane man so that it helps define the space and lead your eye to where it stops on the clock.

To further the complexity theme I have two different spaces in this print. The bridge picture has a high horizon lined perspective that’s your standard “Picture as window” perspective while the left half of the painting has a more modernist “Picture as a flat object” perspective. I think I got the two to work in harmony. That’s not always an easy task and I can see what helped accomplish that is asymmetry. The bridge picture, which has the deeper perspective, has less width than the left side. This gives the shallower perspective of the left side a chance to compete. But it almost looks symmetrical. Asymmetrical symmetry is a handy tool.

Color-wise I added just a couple of gradients otherwise I have lots of flat cut-color. I wasn’t trying for illustrative color but was trying to use color to keep the eye moving and keep the eye looking at things. That’s what I think the complexity was all about here. I was seeing if I could keep the eye interested and keep it going round and round. I think I did that job pretty well.