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[Forest in Summer - 2] : Carving gets underway ...

Posted by Dave Bull at 12:09 AM, June 7, 2009

Continued from [Forest in Summer - 1]

Even after getting the design nailed down on this one, moving to the carving step has taken time, well over a week. I've been wresting again with that same question - how realistic, how abstract.

The previous print - the water reflection - used no 'camera assistance'. There is absolutely nothing real in that image whatsoever; everything you see was created by me from nothing. (Yet interestingly enough, I've still had comments about how 'real' it looks!)

But given the idea that I mentioned in the previous entry discussing this current print - to really 'zoom in' close up on something - I don't quite see how I can avoid moving back toward the realism. I don't really see how 'close up detail' and 'abstract' can be very compatible with each other.

So I looked over the prints that are done so far (and the ideas I have for the couple yet to come), and figured - alright, this might be the 'last chance' for it in this series, maybe we should see just how far we can push the realism side of this.

There is another factor that came into play - due to the way that I got things done during the first year of work on this series (when I produced two autumn prints), there are no autumns left. This current summer print will be followed by a winter, and the series will then finish with a spring.

Hmmm ... that means I've got some 'time' available for this one.

Hmmm ...

OK, we'll talk more about this later, for now, here is an image of the first block to go under the knife (clickable).

I had a good clear day of work yesterday, and the carved patch represents three hours in the morning, three hours in the afternoon, and another two hours in the evening. (Maybe I should keep track of the working time right through the project ... it might be interesting ...)

The thread continues in [Forest in Summer - 3] ...


Following comment posted by: Lester Dore on June 8, 2009 1:03 AM

Lovely bit of carving. Can you post enlargements of bits that are particularly delicate?

Following comment posted by: Marc Kahn on June 8, 2009 3:07 AM

Dave said: "I don't really see how 'close up detail' and 'abstract' can be very compatible with each other."

Think about very close-up views of natural patterns. For example:

- Worn and decaying grain lines in an old wooden board, such as you might find on a pier.
- Veins and autumn color patterns in a leaf.
- Wet pebbles at the edge of a river.

Lots of possibilities.


Following comment posted by: Barbara Mason on June 8, 2009 3:57 AM

Many abstract artists expanded views of ordinary things and took a part of it into their work after the blow up, Franz Kline for example. He used this technique all his life in his works. It gave him a starting point. I think his idea was to simplify the forms until they were only recognizable to himself. Lots of modern artists did this simplify thing (Henry Moore) and that is why we have trouble understanding their work. But the form is nice, the balance is good, the dark and light are beautifully juxtaposed. I like it all, and am drawn to well done abstract. If your art is based in realism, which yours is, it is pretty hard to back up to abstract. I think you did it well in the last piece with the water ripples. Whatever you chose to portray always shows your own vision and that is what people respond to. That is your job as artist, to make others respond. I think you are doing it well.

Following comment posted by: Dave on June 8, 2009 10:47 AM

About 'closeup' vs 'abstract' ...

Sure, I agree that closeup isn't incompatible with abstract; in fact - as we see with almost anything viewed through a microscope - going closeup almost always results in becoming abstract.

I think perhaps we are using the word 'abstract' in different ways here; when I used the term when talking about the previous print (the reflection) I was thinking along the lines of how a cartoon face differs from reality. The eyes are there, the nose is there, etc. etc., but although none of the individual elements even remotely resembles the 'real thing', the overall image becomes something recognizable. And in the hands of a good cartoonist, not only recognizable, but capable of infinite nuance of expression.

So I wasn't using 'abstract' in the sense of 'anything that isn't supposed to depict reality' ... you know, in the 'dribbled paint on canvas' sense. In that sense, then as Marc pointed out, close up detail and abstract are in no way incompatible.

The examples Marc gave above are all the kind of thing that are favourites of a certain kind of photography (nearly always in black & white). It's a legitimate genre ... I could have zoomed in on some bark:

But I just don't think there is enough inherent 'interest' in such a thing, as intellectually 'beautiful' as it might have been, done properly.

Anyway, that's kind of what I was trying to get at ...

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