Saturday, December 14, 2019

Flying Torpedo


Flying Torpedo
2019, oil on linen, 36" x 48"

The colors of the individual torpedoes required considerable thought and experimentation. The ride that inspired this composition had alternating red and yellow cars, but I made numerous studies of different color combinations and sequences. All red or all yellow seemed promising, just red and yellow too, and then there was blue and green. 

In the end, I felt the three primaries - red, yellow, and blue - were the best choice, creating the most energy and movement. They are counterbalanced by the secondary colors - green, purple, and orange - in the clothing of the riders, and by the triangle of the three white shirts.

The final challenge was the background. Night or day? I started to paint a dark sky, but it didn't look right. A light sky blue was immediately better. Next, how to create the impression that all was airborne? Painting small people down below, or buildings or tree tops, made the composition seem too busy and precious. I decided the best solution was an arc at the bottom in a neutral color over stripes; stretching from side to side it would symbolize a structure below the ride. 

small sketch for the lower background
2019, pencil on paper, 2 1/4" x 3"

When I started to paint it, however, the idea of a winding line quickly took over. One more time the subconscious knew better.


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  1. A delight for the it!

  2. Your insights about your decision making are fascinating, Andrew. I adore the final result



"There is more power in telling little than in telling all."
- Mark Rothko

“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meanings are unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.”
- Magritte

"Now, the idea is to get everything right -- it's not just color or form or space or line -- it's everything all at once."
- Richard Diebenkorn