In my usual way of working I seldom completely resolve a composition before adding colour. Sometimes parts of the image are only roughed-in while others are completely developed with texture and transparency nearly finalized. The development of a piece is a constant dance between resolved and barely-resolved parts but with Encounters: 40 I decided to take a different approach. The base collage for this piece was complex enough that I wanted to make sure all of the compositional elements worked together before I started to deal with colour, transparency, and texture rather than addressing composition during the process. I decided to finish the digital drawing completely before proceeding with the other aspects of the image.
In the early stages of digital drawing I had arbitrarily assigned the colour scheme—black, white, and yellowish-orange as a highly contrasting mid-tone, as illustrated in Experiment 1—in order to make it easy to differentiate between the different elements. Line work combined with flat areas of solid colour made the process efficient both for me as I resolved the composition and for the computer as it rendered these simple graphics. As I worked on this stage of the piece, the colours grew on me—they reminded me a bit of ancient Greek pottery decorations—and I worked towards making the piece strong enough to stand on its own with this colour scheme. Next I simplified the palette further, making the orange-line-on-black-background version (Experiment 2) and then the black-line-on-white-background (Experiment 3) version. I was so happy with the outcome of all three experiments that I decided to keep them even though they don’t fit with the rest of the series. I followed these experiments with colour and texture treatments that were more in keeping with the visual style of the rest of Encounters, resulting in images 40-44 of the series. As such, these experiments may lead to a future body of work, or perhaps a similar visual treatment of all the Encounters images.
Of note with these experiments is the sky texture, which did not survive intact into any of the full-colour versions of Encounters: 40-44.