After a week of concentrated work in the country (with a day of socializing over the weekend) Interstices & Intersections is coming into focus. At the beginning of a book my work process consists mainly of thought. I develop text and image ideas for months or sometimes years without committing much of anything to paper. I make some doodles on scrap paper, write bits of text that are always overblown – short misguided sketches that test tone and color but never make it into the book. It's a surprisingly fruitful period in retrospect but at the time it feels like I am adrift in a vastness that I cannot and will not comprehend. As ideas solidify and connections become apparent I get increasingly anxious to do some physical work but the act of putting something down on paper is preceded by an extended period of procrastination. I know that once I begin I cannot stop, so I put off the beginning as long as possible. To sate my desires I spend a week or two proofing preliminary sketches but the proofs only magnify how much there is left to do. With no more to proof, I return to my thoughts and to dealing with the "real world" until one day I can't take it anymore and I begin to write and draw. (Just for fun, this whole process is repeated in the build up to printing.)
So here I am,
alone in the country with my ideas, pens, books, and computer. Each day
is a performance in miniature of the whole process: I get out of bed,
have coffee, am inspired to begin but spend an inordinate amount of time
thinking, preparing, pacing. The process of "coming into focus" is a
one-pixel-at-a-time event and it can be excruciating. But it's also a
lot of fun. To get to where I need to go I often spend the day drawing
something that I have always wanted to draw but that won't make it into
the book. This drawing is inspired by a pavement I saw in Sienna fifteen
years ago that has tormented me ever since.
originally drew this with the intent that it would fill the central
panel of one of the illustrations for Proposition viii.15. Three states
of the illustration are pictured below, the third showing five of the
projected eleven colors involved in the print.