Four and four-part riff on the roads surrounding Ham Common Pond, 2014
acrylic, acrylic medium, compressed charcoal and collage on canvas
711 x 915 mm (28 x 36 inches)
This is a companion piece to Four Panel Piece: Ham Common Pond.
On the same small canvas that was used to monoprint the expressionist and abstracted images of the pond in Four Panel Piece, a further four images of the pond were monoprinted onto the larger canvas of Four and Four-Part Riff. The small canvas fits into the larger canvas precisely four times — both canvases are manufactured by Winsor and Newton in mass-produced, standardised sizes.
The first layer: monoprints
Monoprint section 1: Following the faint outline of broad shapes upon the small canvas from the previous monoprintings of Four Panel Piece, the lighter areas of the small canvas were filled in with compressed charcoal. The Four and Four-Part Riff canvas was laid flat upon the floor and section 1 of this canvas painted with acrylic medium; a monoprint of the compressed charcoal areas was then made with the small canvas.
Monoprint section 2: The darker areas of the small canvas without compressed charcoal over-drawing from the first monoprinting were filled in with black acrylic paint. Section 2 of the Four and Four-Part Riff canvas was painted with watered-down acrylic medium and a monoprint of the areas of black acrylic was made with the small canvas.
Monoprint section 3: The compressed charcoal areas of the small canvas from the first monoprinting were filled in with titanium white acrylic. The small canvas was then laid flat upon the floor and sprayed with water till the paint started to pool and run. Section 3 of the Four and Four-Part Riff canvas was painted with acrylic medium and a monoprint of the areas of white acrylic paint was made with the small canvas.
Monoprint section 4: The areas of titanium white acrylic paint on the small canvas from the third monoprinting were covered with powdered compressed charcoal — this was achieved by holding the stick of compressed charcoal above the small canvas and powdering the canvas with sandpaper. The small canvas, still laid flat from monoprinting section 3, was then sprayed with water till the residual white paint from the third monoprinting and freshly applied charcoal started to run and pool. Section 4 of the Four and Four-Part Riff canvas was then painted with acrylic medium and a monoprint of the white acrylic and compressed charcoal was made with the small canvas.
The second layer: top row stencils
Stencil section A: On a sheet of A3 paper a number of shapes were copied freehand and enlarged from the Map of Ham Common and Surrounding Roads; these were shapes found in the map that had continuous borders without gaps. The placement and sizing of these shapes upon the A3 sheet of paper was arbitrary. The A3 sheet was oriented to portrait format and cut in size to fit half the width and full height of the small canvas monoprints on the Four and Four-Part Riff canvas; four sheets of stencils of this dimension would thus fit along the top row of monoprints. Reducing the A3 sheet of paper in size led to a reduction in the number of shapes to fifteen. These remaining shapes were then cut out to create the first stencil. The stencil was fixed to section A of Four and Four-Part Riff and painted with ultramarine blue acrylic paint. However, for practical reasons of efficient opacity of paint coverage, the ultramarine blue was then mixed with titanium white. The choice of ultramarine blue was arbitrary.
Stencil section B: The cut-out shapes from the section A stencil were dropped from an approximate height of 25cm onto a new sheet of A3 paper. Some of the paper cut-outs landed correct side-up, others the reverse side-up. These paper cut-outs with their orientations were then traced onto the A3 sheet of paper in no particular order of placement or sequence. The section A stencil sheet was then used as a template to set the reduced width and height of the stencil B sheet which resulted in parts of some of the traced shapes on this sheet falling outside of these reduced boundaries. The section B stencil sheet was then cut to its reduced size. The traced shapes in the sheet were cut-out to create the stencil. The stencil was fixed to section B of Four and Four-Part Riff and painted with a mixture of cadmium red medium and zinc white acrylic paint.
Stencil sections C and D: These sections were completed using the same processes described above. The shapes for the section C stencil sheet were traced from the paper cut-outs of the section B stencil sheet; the section C stencil was painted with a mixture of cadmium yellow light and titanium white acrylic. The section D stencil shapes were traced from the paper cut-outs of the section C stencil sheet; the section D stencil was painted with a mixture of permanent green light and zinc white acrylic.
The second layer: bottom row names of roads
A method was devised for reordering the words that comprise the names of the roads listed in Four Panel Piece: Ham Common Pond. The roads listed in this piece are: Lock Road, Ham Street, Upper Ham Road, Back Lane, New Road, Mornington Walk, Ham Gate Avenue, Church Road, Ham Farm Road, Warners Lane and Dukes Avenue.
On a sheet of A3 paper a table of 3 columns and 12 rows was drawn and the names of the roads was entered (see Table 1). On a second sheet of A3 paper a duplicate table of 3 columns and 12 rows was drawn with the names of the roads substituted with letters and numbers (see Table 2). The cells of the second table were cut out, stacked together and shuffled like a deck of cards. The letter/number combinations of each cut-out cell was dealt out and entered in the appropriate A B or C column starting at row 2 and ending at row 12 (see Table 3). This process yielded a new list of names of roads (see Table 4). These new names were then stencilled over the lower row of monoprints of the Four and Four-Part Riff canvas with a mixture of cadmium yellow medium and titanium white acrylic paint.
Of this new list of roads, three exist in the real world: Ham Street, Back Lane and New Road. In the alternate realm of Four and Four-Part Riff there are two roads named Ham Road. The complete list of new road names is: Mornington Road, Dukes Farm Road, Church Lane, Ham Street, Lock Walk, Ham Road, Upper Ham Avenue, Back Lane, Warners Gate Avenue, New Road and Ham Road.
To complete this piece, a new tracing in ink was made of the tracing of the pond upon the Map of Ham Common and Surrounding Roads. This new tracing was then cut out to make a stencil and the stencil painted with a mixture of cadmium yellow medium and titanium white acrylic paint on an A3 sheet of paper. The shape of the pond on the painted paper stencil was then cut out and collaged onto the canvas of Four and Four-Part Riff on the Roads Surrounding Ham Common Pond.