Monday, August 24, 2009

Unskilled Photo-restoration and other unskilled arts

If there's still someone out there reading this, I apologize for being a very slackerly poster, but what the hell, my mind has been a blank except for preparing to create a gigantic copy of Seurat's painting, La Grand Jatte. Oh, also I have been like endlessly cutting and raking grass and hiking. Aside from pretending to work, that is. Oh, and also reading four Faulkner novels.

So the Seurat thing is starting to take over - I'm studying up, doing color experiments, inspections and sketches to get ready for this. I'm also figuring out the sequence of events to make this all happen.

For one thing, making the copy to actual size isn't making a lot of sense to me - its 6'6" by 10'10" or close to that. Putting together a nice flat surface that size is a difficult task in its own right. Do you piece canvas together on some sort of backing? How would that work? Not being an experienced, educated artist, this seems pretty difficult to me. However, working on a 6' x 4' hunk of clear 1/4" plywood makes quite a bit of sense. It maintains the 3:2 ratio of the painting and its figures while breaking things down to a manageable size (while still being suitably large: this thing wants to go on a wall in a house of 8' ceilings after all). This sizes the picture down just a bit while maintaining its monumentality, given the space it will inhabit.

But John, why bother with such a task? you might ask (or not, maybe to you this makes as much clear sense as it does to me). I have decided after living with my Big Idea for awhile, that I really want this picture as close to the original as I can possibly get it. You can't just buy a 10x6 copy of this, or a 6X4 copy, for that matter. All you can get is a picayune little copy. Not close enough. Also, I want to know how this guy did this thing by exploring as many of his techniques as possible. And what is the best way to explore these techniques? Yes, exactly.

So, yes it still may be that I go full size on this thing. I don't know. I guess I just need to figure it out, figure out the materials. How do I get a 10'10" x 6'6" flat surface that I can then frame and hang? Hm. I guess I will have to consult with some artists or art stores or something.

And what do the above photos have to do with Seurat? Hey, I don't know, but approximation of actual photography in digitized format strikes me as a parallel with approximation of a masterpiece. Both are for personal consumption, so why kvetch about approximation at all? Yeah, that's a good question.


  1. Yeah, I'm one of those who doesn't need to ask "But John, why...." ;) Good luck figuring out how to tackle the size issue. I can put you in email contact with three artists, one of them being my mom. I think her biggest piece was 6' wide.

  2. Hey, that would be cool - some third party expertise would expand my rationale maybe