Patterns with square and compass

I found a pattern after I painted this 5″ x 9″ sketch. Something pulled  my eye to the left edge. It seems too empty and not enough was happening.  I drew with white pencil on the sketch with a square and a compass and found  I could make a cube root rectangle ( 1 x 1.732+ ) grow from a square if I cropped the left edge slightly. I will use this new proportion when I paint the full size painting of these Chilean mountains.
Our eyes look first for simple stable proportions like the square, the double, the half, or the third. Our eye takes the height and tries to fit it in to the length in even numbers. When we can’t do that are eyes continue to move searching for a fit, giving a sensation of movement. I have found rectangles proportioned to √ and √3 ( square root and cube root) can give a sense of motion.
   I made a square root rectangle ( 1 x  1.4142+ ) by making a square and drawing its diagonal. I pinned the compass in the lower left corner of the diagonal of the square, and set it to the length of the diagonal. I arced a line down from the top left corner to the extended base line of the square. the rectangle is completed by a vertical drawn drawn at that point.
  As the square root  rectangle came from the square by means of the diagonal, so the cube root  rectangle grows from diagonal of the square root rectangle.The motivating force that turns the square from a seeming blank into a living dynamic space is the diagonal. The diagonal to the square is endowed with the energy to create new spaces.
  I also found that the height of the white spot that represents the sun was located by a diagonal line of the cube root rectangle crossing the first vertical line of the square. I felt something and reacted to it before I knew why. Seeing, drawing and painting are a way of knowing before words and numbers.
This is the completed 18″x32″ acrylic painting ‘Las Torres Del Paine’

Patterns In between


These are acrylic paintings (44″ x 28″) I painted in 1988. I was trying to be very in between.


I  tried to make something that was a landscape and a still life, painting and photograph, that may or may not have a narrative, be flat and have depth, be of many parts and of a single whole. The unresolved tensions create an uncertainty that is like the moment of awareness. As we pass through thresholds we become aware of the differences and similarities of the two states.







Patterns in changing light

Okaka Sunrise

This is a painting that combines two moments that were 15 minutes apart.  I climbed Humpridge over Te Waewae Bay to Okaka Lodge and waited for sunrise. We are looking south from the southern most part of the South Island of New Zealand towards the Antarctic.

Sketch becomes painting

Sketching helps me think about basic shapes and colours.

Lake Marian sketch

These are the colours of the sketch. The colours of the backround are on the top of the chart. The colours of the foreground are on the bottom.

This is the start of the full size painting.

This is the completed painting Lake Marian.

These are the colours of the finished painting. The colours of the background hills are on the top of the chart. The colours of the foreground water are on the bottom.