Science

texture gradients and the ground plane

Painters like Vermeer and de Hooch used chequered floor gradients to map out their domestic world. The machine planted crop created regular gradients that suggested its surface could be grasped in a similar way. Retrospectively, I think I was drawn to this method of laying out where I was in space because I was going through a difficult time in my life; you might say it was a way of grounding myself. But whatever the personal motivation, a secure relationship to the plane is fundamental for everyone. We walk on the plane: the plane affords us our animal freedom. Its representation in art can be a reminder of this simple redemptive fact. Forget space travel and fantasy, the ordinary material world is all we have.

I first came across the ideas of enviromental affordance and texture gradients in the work of the terrific experimental psycologist J J Gibson

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diagrams of texture gradients from J.J.Gibson, The Perception of The Visual World 1950
I took a series of photos across the field then made digital colour selections that revealed a natural association between colours and texture gradients :
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These colours represent the darker shade greens within the wheat. A printout helped to determine the distribution of darker greens taken from this on the spot oil study :
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Detail from the finished painting. Each colour is part of a group of similar colours that make a distinct texture - a colour texture. Because these colour-textures also exist as a gradient, they create an enriched sense of recession on the ground plane. The effect is much stronger than in a photograph of the same scene, which would have too many colours and, critically, no clarifying paint execution.

This ground plane contributes to the aesthetic of the painting, designed to create a sense of placement and continuity between spectator and enviroment. 

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Email: st@stephentaylorpaintings.com

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