bird 3, 2009, Digital Sketch, Ken Weathersby click image to enlarge
Treat the given visual and physical features of drawing and painting (line, surface, paper, color, canvas, stretcher, graphite, paint, etc.) as terms in a lexicon, as objects, as things. Look at these things neutrally. Selectively, dispassionately reject an identified term, removing it from the piece. Eliminate a term that seems central, leaving other, related surrounding terms in place. Seek an unprecedented and unneeded variation on an existing term and insert. Invent a new unneeded term and insert. The absence of an old term or the presence of a new term may have a consequence, but neither the change, nor its consequence should be stressed. Handle the new array of old and new terms without skepticism. Misalign them, close them off. Assume they will support each other. See them as if they had normal rhetorical roles.
Sometimes the simplest idea can engender complicated, difficult process. Rules and measures can accumulate in fragile structures that dictate sequence, delay and contingency. Desire triggers cascading complexity.
top: murder of abel, 2007, Ken Weathersby bottom: john entering the wilderness, c. 1460, Giovanni di Paolo click images to enlarge
I posted in November about establishing the common identity of literally different forms-- little panels inset within the surfaces of my paintings. These different panels are seen as being somehow the same thing but reversed or displaced (as in murder of abel, above). This has entailed using figure-like or figure-derived shapes, partly because their irregularity and lack of symmetry takes their sameness beyond the generic sameness a geometric form might have, to a specific sameness, a unique identity that makes different things somehow the same.
I notice that in Sienese panel paintings, the way figures are used in continuous narratives suggests a related establishing of identity. In the Giovanni Di Paolo painting above (St. John cycle, the Chicago version), instead of a simultaneous appearance of two young men (a depiction of two lookalikes, maybe John and an imposter), we assume the singularity of this uniquely shaped, sized and colored figure, project the element of time into the painting, and see not two figures, or even two distinct depictions of the same John, but thesame John twice.