Bringing the dome shape to life

Trying to capture the sensation of looking at this view of the sky in person, which I now can only remember, and attempt to re-experience in my memory.

The canvas or paper will never be big enough to contain such a vast view. So I use sculptural drawing methods to create the (illusion of) the experience.

I began to draw these dome shapes after seeing Botticini’s painting at the National Gallery. I speak about it in this blog post.

I was trying to capture the experience, perception of looking up at the vast open sky.

The other day in the studio I decided to make a wire sculpture of this dome shape. This sculpture would be a model that I could draw from for future drawings and paintings.

I basically took a sphere, a created the shape of it by wire circles that outline cross sections of the sphere:

When I peer inside the sculpture, or photograph it from a certain angle, this dome shape which project onto the sky is materialised in this mini 3D sculpture.

Next I digitally traced the lines of the sculpture from these photographs, to create digital mockups of shapes I could use in my paintings & drawings. Working digitally meant I could easily play around with the angle of the lines in relation to the scale of the globe, re-drawing the same lines repeatedly until I achieved the illusion of being on the inside of a 3D globe, just as I had imagined.

I could then copy this final digital mock up to a drawing I had begun straight after I saw this view of the sky I wanted to draw.
This process would have been far easier with a projector, but I no longer have access to one as I am no longer a student, cri. So I drew the shapes freehand onto the drawing.

This is the ink drawing now. It’s pretty big, around 1.5 x 1m. The big, rough, gestural black mark across the drawing was done first. This was the shape of this cloud line I saw at the beach. The clouds were puffy and dramatic and massive, like a big looming wall. The sky behind them was super clear, and sunsetty, it was around 4.30pm.

I want it to make it look as if the bottom part of the mark is further back in space than the top part of the mark, since this is true of the line of clouds when I saw them in real life. I have added a wash of white acrylic to the bottom of the mark, with my hope that the more I wash the bottom of the mark, and decrease the opacity of the wash in a gradient until there is none there at the top of the painting, the bottom of the mark will look further away in the distance than the top.

Digital mock up of the intended wash

This is a really interesting experiment so far. I am using the same tool belt as with my previous work, but the subject of my paintings, the location I paint of, has changed!

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