September 22, 2016



For the past three weeks, I set myself to my annual challenge of registering a work for the South Carolina State Fair that exists only in imagination. To make this especially challenging I register late and start a complicated and time consuming work. This year I called the painting "Silver Reach." Calculating about a week of drying time, I did indeed finish the work in time to submit it.

The painting, "Silver Reach" features a figure with extended arms. My husband gladly posed for the preliminary sketches. The long format of a figure with extended arms was initially inspired by a relief sculpture found in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. This sculpture depicts a man extending his arms outwards to indicate a fathom - a traditional unit of measurement.

My painting is a somewhat modified version of the fathom because only one hand is fully extended. The other is a fist. I did this for the most part in order to fit the figure in to the allotted forty-eight inches of my canvas, but it also imparts a greater sense of action to the subject.

To make this painting especially challenging, both the background and the figure’s garment were created not by blended paint but by tesselations configured as a mosaic. The background is formed as an opus vermiculatum style Roman mosaic, in units of square tesserae. The interior strokes of paint are smaller and longer, like the glass filati used to make micromosaics.

This is probably the first time that I created a painting in the style of a mosaic. Considering how long it took, it might be the last time!


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