Shades of Grey – Trying to be Straight

DSC03438 - Version 2

               Trying to be Straight   mixed media on canvas   56″ x 77″     double click on image


How do I write about this painting? The painting isn’t finished. The photograph shows a parallax error. This is a report on it’s beginnings. It’s trying to be straight, but its not. The measurements are a little bit off. How do I make a straight line? The canvas is five by six feet. I’m small. By trial and error I put together a painting using a T-square, a plumb line. I tied a weight to the end of a string. The string fell straight down. The painting is about connecting two marks or points to make a line. A straight line is the shortest distance between two points. A line has a beginning, movement and a stop. A line can go off to infinity in both directions. Here, lines are broken leaving room to wander through space.There’s a grid or it it a net?  The goalie misses the ball; loopholes are found in tax laws. Shape, is it really a solid square?  The white line – Is it the bulkhead at the pool?  impermeable? The painting  looks milky. But, milkiness exists. The edges of things are not quite what they seem. The plumb line is our constant.The mind set is complicated.

Inspiration for this painting came from a collage by Canadian painter Stephen MacInnis. The Long Series is a group of mixed media paintings on paper. 12″x12″. Stephen’s  goal is to complete 10,000 pieces. At the moment he has completed over 1,400. I just bought this one. It’s interesting to me, that I, too, have been  working on a lot of the same things. Click on images to enlarge.




16 thoughts on “Shades of Grey – Trying to be Straight

  1. So interesting Carla, the moment I saw this I thought of Stephen! I really love this, and like its slight irregularity reminds me of blackboards and clearing the marks with my hands..


    • Thank you. I did think of it as a chalkboard too and did erase parts with my hand. It is interesting where paintings, poems, creative projects take you. This painting is still in the process of changing.


    • Yes, I found when I work on this painting I use it as a blackboard. Some of the lines are in chalk and I have been erasing marks with my hands. Interesting how a painting starts out with a thought and can end up being about something completely different.


    • Yes I’ve been working on lots of the same ideas as Stephen. sometimes the same week he posts I am painting something similar. The squares on the right of this painting are a total direct copy of a painting of Stephen’s. I bought it and saw it in the real after I had painted this.The vertical line is a piece of string with a wood block on the end. For me taking a photograph of this black gray piece is impossible. There are lots of variations in the grays. Thanks for your input Stephen I always like hearing from you and wonder what is happening with your painting,too :).Carla


    • That is just a piece of hanging string but it seems to be very important. It can symbolize so many different things – impenetrable for one.It has become a very strong painting almost seven feet long.Thanks for watching it come into it’s own,


  2. I love the musings. 🙂 I swear to whoever, I can NOT be trusted when it comes to straight lines. I’m no good in making a straight line. And I’m no good when being asked if a line is a straight line.
    It reminds me of a chalkboard. I could feel the texture and hear the chalk contacting the board. Sometimes irritating, but reminds me of childhood learning days.


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