SNC II “Sky Pilot”

26 01 2018

The second painting of the SNC series, “Sky Pilot” exhibits the same hard edges and uniform color blocks as “Short 40” although similar faults occur in both panels that will have to be adjusted through trial-and-error.  Overall, the edges seem to do this painting justice as I am gradually refining my “line laying” technique using various makes of acrylics such as Liquitex and FolkArt.  There is very little, if any, overlay or spacing between color lines.


SNC II “Sky Pilot” (2018)

However, the next issue to tackle are the interstices adjacent the corners of all these triangular block segments.  Gaps do appear in the areas of the canvas where the “point” of one triangle abuts its neighbor, as evidenced by the white arrow.  All these triangular points should be on-point with one another and as I expand the series, these problem areas will be fixed.  (There are more of these gaps in “Short 40” than  can be seen in “Sky Pilot” so I believe I’m underway in this fix)


Another problem issue, as identified by the black arrow, is that of the alignment of the  corners of the central square and their abutments to the points of the “cardinal rays” of the star.  The North or top points do not align correctly and I believe this is caused by painting the square prior to the rays themselves.  I will experiment in the future by painting the central square last rather than first in order to development the alignment between these points and create a more aesthetically-pleasing composition.


SNC I “Short 40”

15 01 2018

The first of the SNC series I nicknamed “Short 40” exhibits some of the hardest edges I’ve managed to paint to date.  Coupled with the uniform hues and predominantly triangular geometry, these works carry on along a similar avenue as the B.L.T. series.  I am fairly pleased with the technical accomplishments of this piece though there will be much more to learn and fine-tune through the development of this series.


SNC I “Short 40” (2018)

I achieved with “Short 40” a few technical developments lacking in “SI”—the application of paint upon the canvas surface is visibly more uniform, the colors are purer, not muddled, and the edges are much straighter and neater, as well.  Remnants of the template, penciled in graphite are just noticeable by the inner points of the rays of the star, around the rectangular sections of bare canvas.  The graphite template also remains at the outside corners, a testament to the literal construction and creation of the work.  The outer perimeter edges of this piece are also straight and clean ones.

I am in the process of completing the second painting of the series “Sky Pilot” so please stay tuned…


7 01 2018

Upon completion of SNC—SI I have a begun what I hope will be the first non-study painting of this series.  The finished canvas study revealed many faults in my painting technique I intended to scrutinize, learning from them to improve later in SNC I.


SNC—SI (2018)

In this image you can see the last two blocks of color and perimeter of the work finally filled.  The Ultramarine Blue used for this study was of a poorer quality and the paint consistency was very tacky and not smoothly pliable to the canvas surface, hence the “blotchy” appearance of the hue.

The Ultramarine is also applied quite heavily, which led, in part, to the whitened edges of those blocks containing that hue.  The bottom edge and point of the East ray as well as the right edge of the South ray of the star show this flaw most visibly.  The other issue causing this flaw was the build up of both gesso primer and color along the block edge.  If the block edge is not cleared of paint it will be raised when the tape is removed.  The slight elevation has the tendency to show the underlying coat of gesso, ruining the edge created between the two abutting blocks of color.

I’ll have more to say in an up coming post, stay tuned…

2018 painting developments

1 01 2018

My previous attempts at acrylic on canvas were left back in the merry, merry month of May when I continued experimenting with those hard-edge techniques I’ve so come to prefer.  Since that (wasted) time, I took to reconsidering which themes or motifs I felt would best enhance my painting technique—chiefly pure geometrical blocks or planes of color ordered in a hard-edged fashion.  The motif I decided upon for this new series of paintings stems from a quilt pattern known as the Star of North Carolina:



This first 6 x 6 in. study is not yet complete but still…it’s a working proof of concept.  Much like Albers’s Homage to the Square paintings, the SNC series will be a continuation of color studies though my hope in this project is to revise and perfect my “line laying” as well as painting applying techniques.

Each block or section of color in SNC—SI is applied individually and the abutting of each color block must be just so as to not necessarily overlap nor show any gap exposing the underlying canvas; the cleaner this abutment, the straighter and neater the line.  Now, as this painting is just a study it depicts several defects, hence the “S” or “study” designation.

More to follow later, stay tuned…   

Masons have 175-year tie to Edenton Courthouse

25 10 2017

“…when it being reported that the Justices gave leave the Lodge might be held in the courthouse.  Resolved that the Lodge be moved, it was accordingly moved…”

-Lodge minutes, 6 July 1778

With these simple words, the Freemasons of Unanimity Lodge No. 7 made a momentous decision.  For the next 175 years they met upstairs, East of the Assembly Room, in the Chowan County Courthouse.  In celebration of the historic 1767 Courthouse this year, the good Masons of Unanimity Lodge will honor their former meeting place through a commemorative plaque dedication on the courthouse green, Monday Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.

Edenton Courthouse’s deeply-seeded Masonic ties are as enduring as the courthouse itself.  Prominent Edenton politician, and Mason, Joseph Hewes authored the 1766 bill that funded the building’s construction.  Senator, and Mason, Samuel Johnston presided over a crucial town meeting at the courthouse in 1783 that called for a stronger federal union.  Congressman, and Mason, Charles Johnson even collected funds for repairing the courthouse.  Johnson also served as the secretary of Unanimity Lodge No. 7.

Unanimity No. 7

Unanimity Lodge in Edenton Courthouse

Chartered under the authority of Provincial Grand Master Joseph Montfort in 1775, the Lodge, No. 9 then, tiled its earliest meetings at the King’s Arms, a tavern adjacent to the courthouse on King Street.

Not Surprisingly, the proprietor of the King’s Arms, John Horniblow, also donned the Masonic apron as a brother of Unanimity.  The Lodge’s relocation to the courthouse less than two years later, however, proved very serendipitous for Edenton’s Freemasons.

Unanimity holds the distinction of being the only Lodge in North Carolina whose Masonic records remained intact through the Revolution.  Those records owe their survival, in large part, to the Chowan County Courthouse.  The Georgian building’s brickwork structure better insured the safety of the Lodge’s minutes and other important papers from the outbreak of fire, a common detriment owing to the primarily wooden constructions of that time.  Moreover, the town was spared from the marauding British Army during General Cornwallis’s march through the state in 1781.

Although Unanimity made in through those rough and tumble years virtually unscathed, the Lodge did see its share of hard times after the Revolution.  Brief periods of inactivity befell these Masons soon after the war that by 1791 the Lodge was all but dormant.  Not until after the turn of the new century was it revived as Unanimity No. 54.  In time, the Lodge made a welcomed resurgence, received its current numerical designation, and the Masons would regularly meet in the courthouse until Sept. 29, 1954.  When they moved to their present lodge hall at the end of East Water Street on Edenton Bay, they’d be just a stone’s throw away from their cherished Edenton Courthouse.

CR Able & CR Baker

31 05 2017

Crossroads Able & Crossroads Baker are the first canvases I’ve produced since Atomic B.L.T. in 2015 and like the latter work Able and Baker stem from my fascination with America’s “Atomic Age.”  Operation Crossroads became the first Post-War series of nuclear weapons tests conducted by the U.S.  Two “shots” were tested at Bikini Atoll in July of 1946: Able, an air drop test, and Baker, a water submerged test.  Baker, the second test, remains the most visually compelling of the two nuclear detonations and is one of the most widely referenced images of an atomic explosion.

Baker test, Bikini Atoll, 25 July 1946

Able and Baker are homages, of sorts, to these visually-powerful yet aesthetically-complex displays.  The sparse yet warm color pallet, spanning linearly from one side of the canvas edge to the other, stylistically suggests the radiating condensation rings that form quickly after an atomic explosion.  Personally, they are the most visually alluring of all atomic imagery and some of the most distinctive examples were produced during the Operation Castle series of tests conducted in 1954.

Union test, Bikini Atoll, 26 April 1954

It is these rings that I am attempting to single out and give focus to rather than the stereotypical mushroom cloud that is arguably the quintessential visual signifier of an atomic detonation.

More to come, stay tuned…

New work, new chances

29 05 2017

Earlier this week, I received an unexpected e-mail from the curator of the Center for Visual Artists in Greensboro about the gallery’s upcoming all-member juried show.  I immediately got to thinking what I’d submit-or really what I’d create to submit as only work less than two years old would be accepted and I hadn’t created anything any good in that time.  After giving the matter some super cereal thought I settled on a painting.  I decided to return to those hard-edge techniques I experimented with last in Atomic B.L.T. nearly two years ago.  I could only visualize Ken Noland’s horizontal stripes as a good jumping off point, pulled out the masking tape, and got down to it.

Production in the “Test Wing”

The concept for my Noland-esque painting actually incorporates two canvases, eight inches square and intended to hang side by side.  Over the past five days I produced Crossroads Able and Crossroads Baker.

CR Able & CR Baker

This “quadrilateral binary” painting (Atomic B.L.T. would then be considered a “triangle binary”) consists of an interplay of cadmium yellows and oranges against an otherwise “blank” canvas.  Four stripes of yellow and four of orange, of varying thickness, crossing a white expanse: it’s rather minimal but also intentional as is the warm color pallet.  What I wanted to achieve, aesthetically-speaking, was a compositional harmony through the placement and volume of color upon the canvas field.  Whether I accomplished this or not is not yet known.  However, I do believe I succeeded at what I wanted to achieve technically, which was that crisp, hard edge I was struggling for in the previous two B.L.T. paintings.

I have more to say about this new work but I need a break so, as always, please stay tuned…