Still Life, with Politicians
|The Still Life Genre is very adaptable. It can be used for all kinds of artisitic shenanigans. I certainly had a lot of fun painting this on my Ancient and Much Loved G5 Mac. I have been a keen student of international politics for a very long time and it was a great pleasure to bring all these lovable politicians onto a single table.
For those of you who may be interested in the Painter's Secret Geometry, take a look at the same image below, with a grid superimposed.
|In a previous painting, called "Mother and Child", I showed a grid created using the "Golden Mean" or the "Divine Proportion". That grid was based upon a rectangle with a ratio of 1 : 1.618.
"Still Life With Politicians" is based upon a rectangle with a ration of 3 : 2... that is, the shorter vertical side being 2 and the longer horizontal side being 3. In this case, I have used an old idea called "the Rabatment of the Shorter Side", which became popular during the Enlightenment. It serves much the same funcition as in the Golden Mean, but it is a system which can be applied to rectangles of any ratio or dimension.
Basically, one puts a compass point on each of the four corners of the rectangle; and the diameter of the circle is determined by the length of the shorter side of the rectangle. You can see four arcs in green which intersect with each other and also with lines produced by drawing lines from the four corners of the frame.
|Why bother using secret geometry? Well, you certainly don't have to, but I find that the various lines and intersecting points provided by this kind of hidden geometry give me useful suggestions for placing objects of interest within the frame. It has all to do with proportions and intervals.
A fundamental principle of design can be described as "Diversity within Order", or, less poetically, as "Unity plus Variety". Too much order with no diversity is frankly visually boring. Too much variety with no unity produces mere chaos, which, to me at least, is also boring. (Anarchists may disagree with that proposition.)
As just one small example in this painting, take a look at the characters of Little Boris Johnson, Barack Obama's scalp, George W. Bush's chin, and Vladimir Putin's head. Now, there is a lot of variety and diversity right there. They lean in different directions, and they come in different shapes, colours and sizes. Yet a hidden Green Arc, produced by a compass with its point on the bottom left corner of the rectangle, connects them all in its majectic sweep upwards and to the right. I would suggest that this hidden connection provides a subtle unifying link between the divergent characters.
Now this is all about art, not science. I can't prove scientifically that such hidden links actually do the work of creating the kind of harmony I am proposing. I leave that for you to ponder.