Here is where I take my break • May 16, 2015


Well, my ink pots are capped, my brushes are cleaned (sort of), and it’s almost time to shovel stuff into the car. Sometimes I pack quite carefully for an expedition, but that’s not gonna happen today! I’ve worked on the pictures I’m about to show you until almost the last minute.


If you’ve kept up with my blog, you know I’m trying to portray views no one notices when they go to see the Great Falls, in downtown Paterson, NJ. My latest pictures are of the escarpment over which the waterfall plummets – just the rock face and not much more. The falls are out of sight to the right and only the end of the lovely old power plant is in view at left.


I’ve been struggling, but I’ve realized something, and it’s that an interplay of textures can define and describe a scene, perhaps more beguilingly than if it were merely rendered in a range of tones. We must discuss this further soon, but for now, let’s just say that something great is happening, if I can just understand it.


Time for show & tell: this first picture is the study begun on site and since used as a guinea pig for new technique in the studio. Along with regular brush work and mark making, there is the inevitable surface abuse. Added to this, I’ve acually printed some of the building using kraft foam that I cut to shape and beat up with sandpaper. I then brushed it with ink, flipped, positioned and pressed it down to create a grainy, almost foreboding silhouette of structure. Stranger still is how I managed a few areas of the building’s detail. First, in an out of order sort of move, I did a careful architectural rendering (pencil on tracing paper) – aren’t you supposed to do this sort of thing beforehand? Next, I scanned the drawing and took it into Photoshop, where I messed with it for a great long while, giving it graininess and a halo-like effect around the lines. That accomplished, I printed it out in reverse with my laser printer and pigment transferred portions of it right back in over top of my painting! Finally, of course, more brush work over top of all. Cool, huh?




Just so you can see it, here is what the architectural drawing looked like before and after I digitally messed around with it.




And at last, this is my slowly developing maybe masterpiece of grain and texture, done entirely in the studio. All of the method I’ve mentioned is in this one too, along with some pretty difficult inked collage, and even a little grey wax pencil. For the brick work, I created several stamps by incising archival foam core board with a wood burner. These were then inked and printed as with the kraft foam.




I still have a fair ways to go with this, but I’m already excited by what’s happening. Though I have an almost overwhelming desire to keep working, it’s actually a great time to run away for a week. When I get back, I’ll have fresh eyes and who knows, maybe I’ll have caught a muskie (a giant fish that looks like the meanest pike you could possibly imagine) .


I’ll write again once I’m back. Meanwhile take care All!


Your Buddy Bill


PS: to expand these images and see more detail, click READ FULL ARTICLE, immediately below.