'A Cyberscape' or ...

'Our earth,
as an island in space,
seems like a much,
much smaller place.'

I think it was Blake who examined a grain of sand in the endeavour to discover within such a tiny thing the structure of the world. Such a philosophy echoes in today's world of micro-biology and electron microscopes where the same detail could well be the detail of photographic astronomy showing the birth of the universe which strangely starts to look much like the birth of a single human cell, maybe a virus, or even a crystal.

So it was my idea for this next painting to take something as familiar to us all as their own face, a TV screen, or their front door and make it into something new. We all are familiar with the map of the world, but can it be displayed classically as a landscape or portrait? Can something so uninteresting be made personal and into a painting that can induce people to take a second or third look?

So let's see what we can do? Maybe we can make something that we could hang in a lounge at an international airport or behind the reception desk at a software company.

Bear in mind this needs imagination as ultimately such a subject is a projection of an imagined and unreal topography to begin with. We must start with a rectangular flat canvas and since we know the world really has no edges nor any is it flat we will start at a disadvantage. We will hope to overcome such setbacks with some convincing footwork.

This needs a large canvas and some time consuming work on drawing a map of the world. First we find a suitable map. I used the one shown below.

We grid our map of the world. Shown below in part ( Fig.2 detail of Africa).

Fig. 2
Detail of grided map
Fig. 3
Detail as transferred to our large canvas
Next we paint our primed canvas with a mix of dark blue/white spirit/polyurethane. When dry we draw the same grid on our canvas only much larger. I used white chalk for the grid as it is easily rubbed away, and charcoal for the map outline. Transfer the map with charcoal. We get something like the detail shown in Fig. 3 above.

Completing this stage we can add some color to the continents and begin darkening the sea. You will note how I have begun to think along lines of general composition by emphasising the top left to bottom right diagonal. We must discipline ourselves to think in terms of a painting rather than a map and try and ignore the outlines and concentrate more on the painterly aspects of color and composition. Though I will use certain undersea features of topography as a base I intend the sea to become a reflection of the night sky hoping to impart a feeling of earthly community to the land masses. Let's hope it works!

GO TO .... the world No2

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