One of the most frequently heard sounds in my house at the moment is dot dot dot dot dot, as I work away at my largest pointillism artwork to date. I am in the process of creating two profile elephants on a beautiful section of waney edged oak that is approximately 2m long (6.5ft). I’m working from home because this piece is too big to fit comfortably in my studio whilst we are still in the process of finishing the space. Before I introduce you to my next pyrography artwork and the inspiration behind it (that’s for another time), I wanted to share with you a fun discovery.
So Dave comes home after work and we get chatting about our day as I’m still dotting. Dave starts laughing and tapping his phone. He’s used a beats per minute calculator to work out the number of dots I burn per minute. That average number was a whopping 280! My main technique in creating my artwork is to dot for 30 seconds then break for 30 seconds then repeat, so let’s say that on average I dot 140dpm (dots per minute). If you times that 140dpm by 60 you get 8,400 dph (dot’s per hour).
This is where it gets real interesting! So…if I’m averaging 8,400dph (dot’s per hour) I can work out how many dots each of my pieces has by a simple calculation.
time to complete artwork – time taken to prepare the timber before burning and time taken to finish the piece with protective wax =time burning. Time burning x 8,400dph -10% of total (because, you know…tea and toilet breaks).
With this in mind, I thought it would be fun to work out the estimated number of dots on some of my larger/more complex works…here is a selection of my work completed in time order from past (Feb 2016) to most recent (Jan 2017). Here it goes:
34 x 38 x 3cm
136, 080 dots
44 x 120 x 3cm
567, 000 dots
45 x 50 x 3cm
680, 400 dots
“I’ve Got You”
31 x 77 x 3cm
“As yet to be titled”
4 x 195 x 3cm
241, 920 dots… and counting
The most noteworthy finding in this fun little exercise is the correlation between the number of dots and the time at which I completed each artwork. If you notice, “Big Fish” is my largest completed work, but it has fewer dots than “I’ve Got You”. This is because my artistic process has developed significantly over the past year. I have developed a technique of layering, similar to that used by oil painters, whereby colour (in a painters case) is applied in different layers to build up tone and richness. By doing this with dots (at various heats) it gives me the opportunity to graduate the depth of each piece, really giving emphasis to shape and form which, for example, has been invaluable in giving definition to the skin rolls of an elephants face.
Obviously this is just a bit of fun, and all these numbers are estimations. You are however more than welcome to try and count the dots for yourselves, come over! I’ll provide the biscuits.
So there you have it, lots of dots. Until next time dot dot dot
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