Processing FCB Mural

Processing FCB Mural

Concept derived from Joy Schaverin, The Revealing Image

Routledge, London and New York, 1992, p. 106. Adapted by Sven J. Warner, 1995


Switching of positive and negative shapes (palm fronds and flowers) is handled similarly to the Byzantine Fantasy project’s leaves. Color gradations are especially prominent in panel 3.

To what extent do you own the work? Extensive re-invention of color and tone (from original cartoon) increased the level of interest. Danger with reverse method of process becoming mechanical – paint by numbers. Gave sea oats more flower-like quality than they have in nature. Wanted to combine a local’s familiarity with the subject with a sense innocence and wonder -- Like when Europeans depicted the novelties of the new world.  The complex sky is NOT a pool of blue to rest the eyes. Water carries more of the consistency of color. Sky tells time of day more than water does and changes across the panels. White clouds at center echoes the sand. 

Andamento. I try to achieve balance between even, straight coursing and whirl, twisting action. Evenness of sand causes plants to spring out more dramatically. Also, contrasts more with sky, which shows motion of wind. Drama at two ends: dark trees & bright water, birds at right, sunset playing with sea oats at left. Used blue in plant shadows to echo sky. Each color group – deep reds, blues, whites, rose, aqua, orange, caramel, oxblood, greens, is distributed to give interweaving across composition.  

Illusion/ scale: Realism is conveyed by some details – birds, plane, critters, sea oats – and by color, but composition remains somewhat generalized – it’s not photorealism. Distance is conveyed more by scale and proportion than by atmospheric perspective. Sea oats and palms shown differently when they’re close-up and when they’re farther away. 

Blending mix of sprinkling (sky at upper left, right horizon with gradations of chroma and tone; interlocking “fingers” are used to make some color transitions. Line of pier made jagged to suggest distance, atmospheric effect and reflection off water. Flowers more stylized than birds or sea oats. Centers of interest are sprinkled across composition. Sky a particular challenge of creating edge contrasts and softness, volume. Enjoy mixing stone and glass. Glass gives brilliance, purity, stone gives modulation, softer sheen, earthiness and sometimes nuance of tone gradation not available in glass.

Drew on many sources for inspiration: Client photos of pier, sand, commercial photos; sketch from meeting with architect. Sargent’s Florida watercolors. Probably created more contrasts and details than strictly necessary. Image moves back and forth between generalization and specificity. Where’s the balance between busyness and calm? My goal of generating intrigue pushes/pulls against that of evoking calm. Without advance planning, I designed composition so that each panel holds a strong degree of independence. Each panel is its own episode of creation. They could hang separately. 

copyright George Fishman 2017