Escher: the Bowling Ball

Escher's House Of Stairs
Escher's House Of Stairs

There are a few images seen early in life that I can call formative; an early Crumb panel glimpsed in an issue of Newsweek, a dark painting of a brutish bartender answering an old-fashioned wall telephone, framed and mounted for unknown reasons on my grandmother’s kitchen wall, which frightened me for years until I examined it closely and found it to be a cartoon by Jack Davis- and a drawing in dizzying curvilinear perspective of a group of bizarre buglike creatures climbing up and down unsupported staircases and curling themselves into wheels to roll down long corridors, which I saw in some Time/Life science book when I was about ten years old. It was only years later that I learned the name of the artist, M.C. Escher, when I saw the drawing again in a collection of his work. I made many attempts to draw pictures in the style of that image, but I could never manage to get the perspective right. Continue reading Escher: the Bowling Ball

Roof Garden On A Tiny Ball

Spherical painting of New York City rooftop
Spherical painting of New York City rooftop

There’s a new gallery of spherical paintings coming soon to the portfolio section, but in the meantime here’s a post about the first one I ever did:

Wooden ball with gridlines
Wooden ball with gridlines

Years before I wrote my own book about perspective, I was experimenting with pushing its outer limits. I was inspired by seeing Buckminster Fuller’s dymaxion world globe projected onto the sides of a twenty-sided polyhedron to try the equivalent in perspective- an entire 360° visual field as seen from one point in space drawn onto twenty triangles to form a continuous image. I did a couple of early drawings using this method, including a fold-up ornament sent out as a Christmas card in 1993.  Eventually I got tired of the difficulties involved- each of the twenty triangles has its own perspective, and it’s extremely difficult getting objects to line up over the gaps- and I figured out that it would be simpler to draw a continuous image on a spherical surface. I got a wooden ball from a crafts store and drew a 360° perspective grid on it- basically a picture of a cube with ruled lines on it, viewed from inside so that six vanishing points each line up with the center of a face. Here is an example of a ball ruled with perspective lines. Over that I did an acrylic painting of the garden on the roof of our loft building in New York and gave the finished piece to Eve as an anniversary present in 1994. This post shows the picture of the ball- as you can tell from nearby objects, it is quite small, only about one inch square. Continue reading Roof Garden On A Tiny Ball

Work In Progress: Piece Of Cake

Our friends Elizabeth and Potato had their wedding at our house earlier this month.  They are both radio DJ’s  who host a show Monday nights on KPSU called Attack of The Killer Eggplant. As we were cleaning up after the wedding I noticed some white painted wooden discs sitting  in the trash- these had been supports for the various layers of the wedding cake. They are meant to be thrown away, but it occurred to me they might be excellent panels to paint on, so I rescued a few.  Here is the first one I’ve been working on, a fisheye view of the Ira Keller Fountain covering half the visual field, a flat equivalent to the spherical paintings I’ve been doing on bowling balls and world globes:

Perspective Drawing of Ira Keller Fountain
Perspective Drawing of Ira Keller Fountain
Back of Cake Plate
Back of Cake Plate