Not new material, but a new tool.
I got a projector which allows me to project any image from my laptop onto a canvas, big or small, and trace or paint the image using the projection as a guide. It’s a quick way of transferring and scaling up a pre-existing image, and more accurate than copying by eye.
161101 (above) is one of the first paintings I made using the projector. I had the laptop connected to the internet with the projector pointing at a blank canvas. I searched for an image, painted it, searched for another image, painted it beside or around the first image, searched for another, and so on. I started with the technical illustration in the centre-left, then added the iPhone images, then the cabin, and finally the drone plane at the top. I was thinking about the way David Salle layers found imagery, and before him, Rauschenberg (although I still haven’t seen the Rauschenberg show at Tate Modern, and don’t know his work well).
161122 Running Men (above) was the largest painting I’d completed at that point (November 2016). I tried and failed several times before, abandoning similarly sized canvases, usually because I tied myself in knots with improvised compositions and colour palettes. For this one, I prepared a digital collage from found images and projected it onto the canvas. There are benefits to this process, but I don’t enjoy spending a lot of time at the computer searching for images and creating collages, and in this case the execution of the painting became a rather mechanical process of rendering the collage in paint. That said, I was happy to finally complete a painting at a larger scale, and with a far more open and considered composition than I’ve achieved in the past. The content is arbitrary. I was only thinking about colour, composition and execution.
This is the most recent painting I’ve made using the projector. I wasn’t happy about working from images found online, so I made a digital collage using a photograph of one of my own art works from ten years ago (the map with surrounding photos), adding the figures on the right. I have a personal aversion to image appropriation, so if I’m copying photographs I prefer them to be my own. I wasn’t really satisfied with the composition or light/depth effect of the digital collage even before I began painting it, but this painting was valuable to me as an exercise in using varied brush sizes.
After making 170101 Is There a Pattern to the Disappearances? (above), I tried to paint from another more complex collage, but ended up abandoning that painting because I improvised an ambitious colour palette that went irretrievably out of control! Since then I’ve been making small doodles in paint, and enjoying the freedom of not copying, engaging exclusively with the paint instead of with the computer and projector. I appreciate the role that the projector could play in my process, but also enjoy painting spontaneously without preparing an image to copy. Perhaps in future I’ll find a way of combining the best of both methods.