Geometry, what is it good for?


I ended my last post with the following questions:

“So what’s the point of all this fiddling about with geometry and structure? And if I’m so into that, what’s with the parts of the painting that don’t conform to any ratio, and why do some of the lines kind of follow the structure and kind of not? Why don’t I just paint the diagram, like any sensible reductionist would do?”

I have two major reasons for using geometry to structure to my compositions. The first is the simplest. As I noted before, many of the painters I consider to be my major influences were also keen on the whole geometry thing. Part of my goal as a painter is to establish continuities between my painting and the work of those who came before me, and my use of geometry is one of the ways I do that.
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Geometry and composition

Last post I said I’d write next about why I use geometry in my paintings. But before I do that, I thought it might be useful to give an example of how I use it to compose and structure my work.

So I’ll describe how I composed the painting Hotel. As it’s fairly recent, that should make it easier to remember exactly what I did, which could be more problematic if I tried to describe composing an older work. Although I approach all of my painting with a fairly consistent method, I don’t use a formula. Each painting is its own thing from the outset, and evolves according to its own internal logic. This can make it hard to remember, or reconstruct, exactly how the result was arrived at. Heck, sometimes I don’t even use geometry at all.
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