TIMELINE 1 – The Temporality and Potential Endlessness of the Line


Waring Rago Studio still – painting sequence captured photographically, as stills, desktop printed and laid out in sequence next to OMPHALOS by Nicholas Gulig.

I have been thinking about the Line – all the things that a line is/can be/might be/represents – and in the manner of Sol LeWitt’s Sentences on Conceptual Art (as Jonathan has pointed my attention to in our first tutorial) have begun to generate my own sentences calling them LINES ON LINES. This to merge into my project PICTOPOIESIS (my own invented word) – a making, remaking and unfolding of the painting as poem. For further explication please see Labels for 2 Girls Gallery, at end of this post.

Technical preparations:

Preparing for the exhibition at 2 Girls Gallery I wanted to display a GIF animation comprising the Omphalos sequence pictured in the blog header. Initially, I thought that a GIF file format would display on a screen as part of a loop together with other artists works. However, I realised that a GIF is primarily a web-based format and normally requires a browser for it to display as an animation. As part of a loop with other video works, in possibly different formats, I thought this might present a problem for the curator or technician. The gallery display monitors and computer are Mac-based. In order to ensure that my artwork is displayable had to ensure a compatibility with whatever mode of display was used without necessitating a separate outfit. I know that Mac’s native video software is QuickTime. To convert a GIF to QuickTime presented a problem I had not foreseen. How to move gif directly into QT – I found this was not really possible (at least easily).

I decided to use Final Cut. Importing the GIF into Final Cut I would be able to produce a movie (.mov) file which would be totally compatible with a Mac. This I found had the added bonus of enabling me to create several iterations of the GIF animation resulting in a loop of the GIF which would have been exceedingly difficult to achieve otherwise if the animation has remained as a GIF. This is exactly what I wanted. So instead of the GIF potentially only displaying once for 30 seconds, I was able to create the loop display that I wanted without requiring special programming.

While I was carrying out the above, I also attempted to convert the video in Final Cut to MP4, perhaps the most widely used video format. I found the result totally unsatisfactory. The frame images presented highly pixelated and all detail compromised. I think this might be to do with the coding of the images – I would like to know the reason why.

In the same exhibition, I shall show a small painting, which is represented in the last frame of the Gif converted to QT movie.


OMPHALOS – ‘drowned to nothing and became’ (final line of poem by Nick Gulig)

The cycle of the painting was captured photographically in 62 frames. Below I include as preview an experimental (approx 30 seconds duration), 50 frame GIF generated  in Google photos. Will post the full version in a future post after the show has begun:


Text provided for labels for the exhibition are:

TIMELINE 1 – The Temporality and Potential Endlessness of the Line
Janet Waring Rago, 2017, 
gif (duration 31.5 seconds) 
This is the starting work in an exploration of the meaning of ‘line’: the expression of ‘line’ as a temporal process and living metaphor for the poetic idea of extension, liminality, and boundary. The animation discloses the hidden narrative of the painting as a series of fleeting glimpses that tells of the ephemeral story of a painting. Each image is a painting I have to leave behind in a continual progression. Each image nonetheless creates an imprint in my mind which is near forgotten and superseded by subsequent and equally temporary images. Only the final image remains, and it too is only part of a potentially endless line. Each one of the 62 frames corresponds to a line of the poem Omphalos by Nicholas Gulig in conversation with my work. This collaboration was curated and documented by Jeffrey Pethybridge at likestarlings.comThe painting OMPHALOS – drowned to nothing and became, accompanying this animation corresponds to the last line of the poem.
and for the small painting which I shall hang as close to the appropriate screen as possible:
OMPHALOS – drowned to nothing and became
Janet Waring Rago, 2016
Oil on aluminium, 25 x 25 cm
As part of a conversation between painter and poet, curated by Jeffrey Pethybridge at likestarlings.comNicholas Gulig wrote ‘Omphalos’ in response to a series of my paintings. This particular painting is, in turn, a response to that poem. It marks the endpoint of a potentially endless process. In the animation, TIMELINE 1 – The Temporality and Potential Endlessness of the Line,shown in this exhibition, I am exploring the meaning of ‘line’ as a temporal ‘object’. The animation discloses the hidden narrative of this painting as a series of fleeting glimpses that tells of the ephemeral story of a painting. Each image is a painting I have to leave behind. Each one of these nonetheless creates a brief imprint in my mind which is superseded by subsequent, equally temporary images. The final stage itself is only one in a potentially endless line.
Title from the last line of poem OMPHALOS by Nicholas Gulig – for full text go to 



Navigating the World

I have always enjoyed experimenting with making simple artist books and included works on paper in my exhibition (notice folded paper exhibits in the two cases in the centre of the room) at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery in 2016

I would like to re-evaluate the above in connection with PICTOPOIESIS. On the theme of navigation beginning by reminding myself of how to fold a map, thinking of it as a book form in which the whole picture is seen at once – as is the case with a painting. The Map as a book form seems to me to offer a directness different in kind to that associated with the conventional, as in page-turning, book form.  Unfolding a map I find to be an extremely satisfying thing but folding it may not be so easy.  I remember that I use the word unfolding (explicating) in my project working title – so, for now, I shall call this first artist book Allow me to Unfold 

So, I place the map form here, below my feet, on the floor of my home and studio – the wooden tongue and groove floor shows lines, the folds of the map are lines too. This simple act of placing the folded paper on the floor, for me, connects the art element to the domestic (I live and work in the same single space). This reinforces in my mind the idea of the inseparability of Life and Art – something I experienced in Florence all those years ago – I saw a wet umbrella casually leaning against a Michelangelo Pieta (this needs an accent!) and it looked as if it were meant to be there. Florence is a living art museum in which the art and the human are inseparable – art is always human first.


Thinking of PICTOPOIESIS, I  shall begin with the fundamental pictorial element of line, that already emerges just by folding the map as in the following images. Unless the map is flattened completely it also has sculptural form, has a spatial dimension. Unfolding and folding a map is a time-based act guided by the folds, the lines.

The painting is for me a way of navigating the world, the map, the journey, the line…

Write Lines on Lines on the folded map format- and draw the lines

How to fold a map

Influences, Inspirations (annotated)


Book/Anthology/Unbroken thread of consciousness/importance of going to original source of thought, not an interpretation  – Constable quote on back cover: ‘that the world should be inclined to look to painters for information on painting’ Formative – read many times over in Florence as introduction to Art/painters/painting.


Book/Anthology of Van Gogh’s powerful, deeply honest, poetic writing infused with his drawings and paintings – a moving, intimate portrait of the artist of universal appeal – VG always touches on common human ground first not separating Art from life. An early formative influence for me whilst in Florence, and painting from life; still lifes, landscapes seeding ideas of these potentially as forms of reflective portrait – self, other, us.


Poster- Recent/Today: painting – a way of navigating the world/map of continent/planet body. The header image; Continent of Unfolding Horizons/Negative Capability/adopted for the 2016 Summer Writing Programme, The New Weathers at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University USA. The painting is given outside context, the image inhabiting a new environment, traveling internationally – digital as tool for image communication. The SWP is a well-known, international point of reference for creative writing.


Book – the impossibility of real human communication – words are ultimately impossible to communicate with clearly. Seeded thought for me – paint first and derive everything else from that – filter and distill everything into the painting, don’t try to put it into words, keep painting, potentially clarify by working out the fundamental basic units of its pictorial language – PICTOPOIESIS. Book was early influence, read it in Florence, food for thought also with reference to the theatre/performance.


Recent; Book of Lake A Poem by Nicholas Gulig. My painting as cover – Encircling a Commons, or Cage, (painting title being a line from Omphalos by Nicholas Gulig, collaborative poetry/visual art written in response to a series of works) in conjunction, also see: http://www.likestarlings.com/poems/nick-gulig-janet-waring


Sentences on Conceptual Art, Sol LeWitt

Most recent to date – re-evaluation of line element for Pictopoiesis/project




Ten Thousand Lines, at Least

It has taken several days to structure the latest passage of paint, as shown below. The header image is the whole work as it is today.

The limit of its fineness is reached when the oil paint becomes sticky due to its oxidation.  I have never counted as I go – that would be too arduous but there are countless lines inscribed; 10,000 is the number considered to be countless in Chinese culture; there are at least 10,000, I feel sure.

The task of creating the structure is physically demanding as every single line is given a definite beginning and end. I have to control each line and concentrate so hard that my state of mind becomes beyond meditative or contemplative, it is trance-like. Secondary, contour lines emerge in the process at right angles to the individual lines, as if they just grew there, they were cultivated.

The form is fossil-like – the earliest ‘paintings’ were scratched onto rocks and cave walls – they had physical structure – they did not float on the surface, being etched into it they were part of the surface physically, indelibly, permanently (as far as anything can be permanent)




The tiny scrapings of paint from each and every line, I do not waste, recycling them into the later passages of the painting.  I have also collected and preserved them elsewhere, including on glass slides normally used for now-obsolete photography of the pre-digital era (note to self must take a photo of these slides tomorrow when it is light)

I speak tacitly and in the same breath of both the macroscale and the microscale the structure seems closed but indicates that exchange is possible into and out of the picture plane, adding depth. It is a structuring of the present instant a presence in which past and future meet, connecting me/us to our deepest shared past when life was beginning to take shape. We are emergent properties of our origin with commonalities at the deepest level of our existence. The thread, the line is unbroken, it could not have been otherwise.

Note to self:

I am interested in Chinese art in particular ancient Chinese art as in the case of scrolls one sees a synthesis of painting poetry and calligraphy. In Karen Smith’s lecture, I was fascinated to hear that abstract art is unknown in Contemporary Chinese art. This really surprised me. I do understand the politics of contemporary Chinese art, its background, how it has come about out of such social turbulence. I think that perhaps, Chinese contemporary art will begin to move towards a re-evaluation of its ancient past in terms of the work of the unsurpassable quality, which was achieved by their artists in earlier times. I saw an exhibition in Monaco this Summer where some of the greatest treasures of Chinese Art were to be seen, and it left quite an impression on me – it was one of the best shows I have ever seen and a revelation in terms of its content. I have in the past made works directly inspired by the Song poems – circular in form, works on silk combining landscape and poetry – these have influenced my paintings compositionally too.

10,000 means countless in Chinese : http://www.sacu.org/langchwan.html

Sentences on the Line (continued)

Sentences on the line (contd):


I may repeat a sentence

The sentence is never the same again

These sentences are not rules,

These sentences are elemental

These sentences are elementary

These sentences have endless progression

These sentences contain endless expansion

Many lines can represent that which a single line does not

Many lines can represent the interspace

The interspace is normally represented by a single line

These sentences contradict themselves

These sentences do not contradict

These sentences contain multitudes

These sentences are poems

These sentences point towards the origin of all poetry

The line originates at the origin

The line does not end

The sentences on the Line are at least 10,000

You must write your own sentences

These sentences as much belong to you, as they do to me

These sentences are a gift

A line is a gift






Prophecy and Place

(This post was mistakenly made as a page, so it is quite out of date but not to worry – I am on a learning curve with this blog! I have copied and pasted content below):


I receive a poem a day, in emails from the Poetry Foundation, today’s had this editor’s note:

Editor’s Note:  Richard Wilbur passed away on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at the age of 96.

The poem is called Advice to a Prophet, and below a link to it:


The above marked the day, as did the sun, which was a strange orange, rapturous, as if evening at midday. The atmospheric conditions very unusual, strange infact – I wanted to know why.  More and more the computer brings me answers, tells me that it is not just me experiencing this. whatever it is:

I ask why is the sun orange today? and pick out an answer, finding that it is a widespread effect, not just local.  We are on common ground, though I am on the Eastern side of England, and Manchester is on the West:



(This post was one which I earlier mistakenly made as a page – I am learning the ins and outs of the blog!  so below is a copy and paste re-assignment of it as this post. I must also say how much I appreciate this blog as a collaborative partner even though I am still very much on a learning curve in all respects.)

For me, etymology is always a tool to aid reflection:


This week’s Tuesday was an interactive session where we were introduced to processing by https://processing.org and successfully effected online. I needed both my Chromebook (habitual apparatus) for the Skype chat as well as my out of date Mac computer – its operating system was just within the limits of the requirement to download the info sent. The info could not be downloaded onto my Chromebook – a limitation with the Chromebook for now – currently putting together a better set up but don’t want to hurry this!

So, two devices, which don’t like each other! Mac doesn’t like Chromebook, so to keep up with the session I was having to type in information which I could have just copied and pasted – so many typos my end as there were intricate details but really gratified to have held in there, in spite.

Processing then: when I first saw some examples of the technique being taken to a high level, I was amazed.

I saw that processing is about transferring information already formulated and then altering and evolving that information towards the desired endpoint.

That information being, relative to painting, material-less – and in this respect very much in contrast to painting such that I see it could act as a useful tool/technique to elucidate aspects of my painting which might otherwise remain hidden. If I were to use processing myself it would have to be at a rudimentary level – I can see that it is very time consuming, and needs practice – like painting in this respect.

To collaborate with an expert processer, now that would be a different thing – and some impressive results could be obtained, particularly if projected on a large scale. Digital festivals are appearing in the UK – here in Lincoln – one now on – the Frequency Festival. I now see how the works shown there have been created. I feel informed and have gained insight through this interactive session, in terms of what is possible and what can realistically be achieved in terms of processing.

Image on header shows a recreation of the approach a person/procession would have taken to have an audience with the Chinese Emperor – this taken at the exhibition The Forbidden City, throughout this Summer in Monaco.


as an extension to the continued first tutorial with Jonathan Kearney I add to the sentences so far:

(the painting progresses further, header image detailing line)

Sentences on the line by J Waring Rago:

(second draft)

a line is a dot which has grown

straight lines suggest structure, particularly lines in parallel

an edge is usually misrepresented by a line

the horizon is a line

a circle is a single line

a circular line encloses

circles are easy to draw

a perfect circle is not easy to draw

a straight line is easy to draw

a perfectly straight line is not easy to draw

lines flow

lines give direction

a line is temporal

a horizontal line is one thing, a vertical line an entirely different thing

a diagonal line is dynamic

a line can be strong or weak or anywhere in between

a line may be quick or slow

a line denotes flat

a line denotes not-flat

a line can become a wave

a line can last forever

a line carries its origin within it

anyone can draw a line

a line is not necessarily drawn using the hand

many many more sentences can be written about the line

the above sentences are to be read in no particular order, hence they are not numbered

I shall add to these sentences as I go

the three dots signify a pause at the end of the last sentences. I may well repeat myself as I go but that will be interesting in itself, I think – all this with the intention of reviewing and further curating this list in the future:

the line may not exist at all

the line depends entirely on its context

the line emerges out of its context

the line is also the space between lines

no one line is ever exactly the same as another

the line is a trajectory

the line can be the thought of it

line is both thing and action (noun and verb)

a line is a thread

the line is the thread

the line is potentially infinite

parallel lines never meet

crosshatching is made of lines, so line can be tone

line comes from line, as in linen

line and linen are related, so linseed oil is related to line

a line is a linen thread

lines can be woven

lines make a mesh

lines make a grid





First Tutorial with Jonathan Kearney (further reflections)

Jonathan drew my attention to some of the Sentences on  Conceptual Art by Sol Lewitt  -in particular sentences 19, 20 and 21, copied below. This interests me in that these come straight from the artist.  The sentences themselves are food for thought, as is also the idea of making a list of sentences about my own work.

19. The conventions of art are altered by works of art.

20. Successful art changes our understanding of the conventions by altering our perceptions.

21. Perception of ideas leads to new ideas.

The line is a feature of Sol LeWitt’s work and I see that a continual re-evaluation of the line element in my work would be enriching and valuable.

I work to my own system in painting based on fundamental units, one of them being the element of line, as evidenced in this post’s header image (detail of painting in progress)

I found an interview with Sol LeWitt, so again, from the artist himself,

The system is the work of art; the visual work of art is the proof of the system.

and later on in the same interview (I find the last sentence most interesting):

SO (interviewer): If you could add a paragraph or revise the “Sentences on Conceptual Art,” what changes would you make? Have you thought of writing a new text to represent what appear to be significant changes in your views?

 SL (artist): I have no problem with the sentences. Although they pertain specifically to the art of the ’60s, they are pertinent to my thinking now. I wouldn’t delete or add anything. The art of today is a lot grander and more opulent than before, but the process of art-thinking hasn’t changed very much—it’s the emphasis that has changed.

and now for some of my own sentences:

Sentences on the line by J Waring Rago:

a line is a dot which has grown

straight lines suggest structure, particularly lines in parallel

an edge is usually misrepresented by a line

the horizon is a line

a circle is a single line

a circular line encloses

circles are easy to draw

a perfect circle is not easy to draw

a straight line is easy to draw

a perfectly straight line is not easy to draw

lines flow

lines give direction

a line is temporal

a horizontal line is one thing, a vertical line an entirely different thing

a diagonal line is dynamic

a line can be strong or weak or anywhere in between

a line may be quick or slow

a line denotes flat

a line denotes not-flat

a line can become a wave

a line can last forever

a line carries its origin within it

anyone can draw a line

a line is not necessarily drawn using the hand

many many more sentences can be written about the line


the above sentences are to be read in no particular order, hence they are not numbered

I shall add to these sentences as I go, generating future posts extending from this one.










HYBRIDS – fields of experiment

So far in these reflections, I have wanted to extend the introduction of my painting to better evidence where I am coming from with respect to it, at the same time building an interface with the digital.

Thinking now about my contribution to our first group exhibition coming up on 1st December at 2 Girls Gallery; it will be the second digital piece I have shown, the first one being as mentioned in an earlier post, in the form of a text-as-painting experiment I did in response at the very beginning of this first term, to a call for submissions for the Free Education Exhibition at Central St Martins SU Gallery – this show is current – see below my exhibit in situ (and the header image being the entire gif playing):


The upcoming show is curated by Donald TakGuy, a former MA student, who is also a painter. Donald’s MA project is of particular relevance to me – I see that his heart is still in painting. It was very interesting in his presentation that he spoke of the disadvantages of exhibiting the digital in that it inevitably needs continuous attention, which is something I had not thought of.

So far I have had to deal with the physical challenges of making and exhibiting not only paintings but sculptural pieces too.

I was interested to see how Donald had used for his final piece many screens, placed all together as a body.  This would be something that has resonance with my work as it is suggestive of the body physical, potentially leading back or alluding to the bodily consideration in the painting itself.

Donald evidences his curatorial strand in this upcoming exhibition at 2 Girls Gallery and I am interested to know what my response will be to not only my own piece but the exhibition as a whole. The working title is HYBRIDS – fields of experiment which I particularly like, having for me, evocations of breeding experiments in biology.

I realise I have been making a mistake in thinking that my digital piece should be sophisticated, I have been envisioning outcomes which would take a whole team of technicians and this is obviously not appropriate  – in other words, I have been thinking too much of potential rather than (immediate) possibility.

This first digital piece is the beginning of a cultivation, creating the first simple fundamental unit, beginning the basis for the language of the digital piece – in the same way as I have developed my painting.

The exhibition is being installed by several MA students, who are organised and focussed, having communicated well using our course wiki space also by email exhibition meeting

They have to accommodate a lot in a very small space, making it extra-appropriate, I believe, for me to provide something simple – in the form of a gif file showing a painting sequence accompanied perhaps by a small 20x20cm (wall hanging) painting along with an explication suitable for the exhibition label.