Greetings from Sister Bay!  Our summer and fall were really busy with a great first season at Edgewood Orchard Galleries as well as the September show at Grace Chosy. Now we are diggin’ the quieter ‘off’ season up here — lots of time for researching new techniques and for creating new work and still plenty of time for getting out and experiencing the beauty of winter in Door County.

At the opening for the Chosy show, a number of people asked me about the stories behind my images including how they are influenced by electronic music. I thought I would share some thoughts about Water Falls I.

Water Falls I

Web Image of "Water Falls I"

Water Falls I (38 x 72 inches) (2012) Edition of 3, © Dave Tilton

Water Falls I serves as an overture piece for a series of images that explores the influence of gravity on water in our environment.  The imagery in Water Falls I suggests several environments such as water cascading down the surface of a rock ledge, water falling in the form of rain, and water flowing as groundwater.  It also introduces the Water Fall motif that is found in a number of the other images in the series.

I used the concepts of frequency modulation and additive synthesis as models for creating the textures in Water Falls I.  In sound synthesis, frequency modulation synthesis (FM synthesis) creates complexity in timber (tone) by modulating a simple waveform such as a sine wave using a modulating signal that has a harmonic relationship with the original waveform. Figure 1 illustrates the complexity that can be achieved with this type of modulation.  Additive synthesis creates timbre by adding multiple sine waves together to create harmonic and inharmonic partials (overtones).  Figures 2 and 3 show the complex structures achieved by inharmonic and harmonic additive synthesis.  FM synthesis is frequently used in conjunction with additive synthesis to create complex sounds.

Web Image of "Fig. 1 - Frequency modulation synthesis"

Fig. 1 - Frequency modulation synthesis

Web Image of "Fig. 2 - Inharmonic additive synthesis"

Fig. 2 - Inharmonic additive synthesis

Web image of "Fig. 3 - Harmonic additive synthesis"

Fig. 3 - Harmonic additive synthesis

By experimenting with techniques modeled on FM and additive synthesis, I was able to create a set of textures that had a great deal of complexity in tone, color and transparency while retaining coherency and consistency.  I then composed the image using these textures to communicate a sense of depth, complexity and transparency that draws the eye through the layers to consider what lies behind the surface of falling water.