The origins of the architectural watercolors were simple grids lightly drawn with a 9H hard lead pencil on Arches text paper. The rectangular shapes were carefully and deliberately painted in with dry brushed watercolor paint. Over time, diagonal lines bisected some of the squares and the suggestion of a simple house form developed. During this time, Master’s Thesis work in Architecture and an independent study of "the thinking eye" and "the nature of nature" by Paul Klee greatly influenced the paintings. A six-month trip to Europe to study architectural space and ornamentation quickly brought the paintings into focus as clearly architectural studies with the grid/support structure reduced in importance. As the scaffolding was gradually removed from the paintings the buildings became the subject; primarily as flat facades or in a pre-perspective style influenced by medieval painting and Ikons.
Between trips to Europe inspiration was maintained through vintage photographs (Robert McPherson, Alinari Brothers, Francis Frith) and antique books/architectural portfolios and the many b+w photographs taken during the trips. As the immediate travel inspired memories of the specific architecturally significant buildings and details of construction dimmed and an internal back-up memory took over.
An entire vocabulary of architectural bits and pieces, spaces and locations, seamlessly flowed from the end of the pencil. The less thought and effort that went into the base/outline drawing, the more original and special the outcome. There was a vast reservoir of images to draw upon and an unknowable force that assembled them on the page; free from conceptual thought and learned designed interference and outside prejudice. If the paper was placed on the table and the pencil was placed in the right location the drawing would appear.
Like the grid drawings of previous years, the building drawings maintained a system of integrated closed cell shapes. Possible similar to a child’s coloring book. The drawings would be painted as a separate and independent act that was equally automated by the long period of learning colors, mixing and brush manipulation. The painting of simple grids, devoid of image or identifiable shapes (buildings) created a memory path that was integrated in the subject based paintings.
The painting of the closed cell shapes was a long-term project and it was independent from the accurate or realistic description of the building. Some paintings have hundreds of cells and each one had the color individidually considered, mixed or shaded prior to application requiring many days to complete even a very small work.
The grid or matrix has been the foundation for most of my paintings over the years. The grid is the primary generative source and also the default position for restarting painting after a completed artistic investigation or after exhausting my creative intelligence.