Creation of “The Shift” painting

When I am in my studio, the rest of the world dose not exist, and reminds of itself only with the sounds that reach my ear. When I was working on this watercolor painting “The Shift”, I was carried away to a different world, so far away that no one can reach physically and only observe from the safe distance using complicated technology.

I was studying space.

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I started this painting of the Milky Way on the Arches watercolor paper sized 52″ x 70″ (131 cm x 178 cm).
Layer by layer I was glazing and splashing, waiting avery time for it to fully dry (which some times took a little longer then usual, as the climate in Japan is more moist then in New York, my home base). The Stars started to appear on the paper and clusters of gas…

I have finished this painting and it came out not bad at all in my opinion, but was not enough strong, something was not there and I realized that I am not done quite yet. The Milky Way was striving beyond the canvas size and I had to figure out how would I make this happen. It was obvious to me that there needs to be more paper added, and I could keep adding in vertically or horizontally. But then I thought: “Who decides how to frame the universe? It is endless and has no borders or horizons”. This was the answer to my puzzle. I wanted to turn my paper up side down and add more paper sideways.

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Now my attention was focused on some geometry, I needed to figure out how do I cut the paper to keep it parallel on two sides and what would the angle be. Knowing the my paper roll is about 52″ wide and 10 yards long, I could not make it wider then 52″.

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Also the wall that I was using had it’s own limits. My painting has to fit in it and have some space on the sides left.
I must mention that this work is 90% painted on the floor. This means that I had to find that much space in the studio. Keeping my center piece on the middle I had other two parts arranged and jumping from one side to the other I was working on two remaining parts simultaneously. My job now was to match the shapes and colors and technique with the original part. I did not make notes on what colors and in what order did I use for the first part, so I had to rely on my eye this time. My palette is very limited and includes Paynes Grey, French Ultramarine, Neutral tint and Red Madder with a little addition of variety of rose/violet/other blues occasionally. So I could not go wrong.

When the work was almost done I had young guests coming over to the studio from the local art school. I made a little demo and signed my painting in front of them.

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The very next week I was to have a solo show at the Kofu City Hall, Japan. “The Shift” was to be one of the major paintings displayed there. This show was a collaboration with a local composer who wrote electronic cosmic music, Masakazu Yamamoto. We had a meeting to discuss our show and view my new piece.

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The show was a success. We had a lot of visitors and very positive reviews. “The Shift” was the first painting to be viewed. The size of the work is 87″ x 169″ (220 cm x 430 cm).

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