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For social and political reasons, Fajans decided his next painting would depict bodies wrapped in shrouds painted on a huge rectangle of veneer panels. The figures would be arranged as if they were floating down a wide, curving, invisible river. Fajans took individual photographs of friends, family and models wrapped in shrouds. He positioned his subjects meticulously to be incorporated in his overall design. From these photos he would develop the stencils required for his unique painting technique. An initial electronic draft of the new composition was completed. It compiled and positioned all the shrouded figures from his photographs. The composition was circulated by e-mail to a few people who noted the stark power of its imagery. Fajans then made a significant revision, flattening the curve of the imaginary river to restrain its drama, resulting in a new electronic draft. The task of actually painting the many large figures onto the wood panels would involve applying layer after layer of airbrushed acrylic. This is the unique method that has achieved a realism in his paintings that always strikes people as photographic though the images are more freely invented, richer and larger than photography allows, and they evolve in the process to suit his themes and visual intuitions. He was also developing a saw cutting pattern for the veneer sheets that would allow the wood grain of the background surface to conform with the currents of the invisible river. He thought and talked about ways he could paint the lower edges of the shrouds so they would appear to be under water though the water would be unseen.
Things were coming together. For the people who follow his work, anticipation was building. The project was resonating with its own life, and its relevance was deepening every day. With the conceptual phase nearly complete, Fajans was ready to assemble his materials, make his final drawings, cut his master stencils and begin to paint.