Saturday, June 26, 2010

The painting process

People are always asking where I get my ideas.  When they are asking about the paintings, the answer is that the "idea" evolves out of the process of painting.  Because I always begin with laying down texture and color, I clear my head of specific imagery and just follow what the textural forms offer up.  Sometimes this is a quick give, and sometimes I feel like I was in second grade and the school trickster offers me something but when I reach for it, he yanks it back with a big guffaw.  Then, it's patience and persistence because the painting never works for me if I try to force it.  Case in point:  a week ago, I began a large canvas to see how I felt about painting directly on unstretched canvas instead of masonite, my usual substrate.  I always work flat, so no problem, I thought, laying the 45" x 72" out on my work table.  Gessoed it a few times - didn't want the canvas to buckle - and then got out my palette knives and texture paste, a little pigment, and got to work.  First day or two, things seemed to be going ok.  Second day, third day, heading downhill slowly.  First it was too much texture, then it was not enough.  Color was working ok - nothing exciting.  Fourth day I thought I saw something.....hmmmm....think I'll go with that...Birds of Paradise by a wall.  I like deep greens and maybe the Birds showed up because I'm getting ready to go to Malaysia....sure, let's go with this.

Mistake.  Got the Birds in there and hated them.  Nothing was right - composition was boring, color was harsh, texture didn't make sense.....damn!  Where did that thing go that I thought I saw?  Out the back door, no question.  Time for the sander.  After losing most of the Birds I let it sit overnight, toying with the idea of cutting the canvas in half.  But, once I looked at small parts, I had some really nice things happening - here's some pics...

Once I changed the shapes of the texture I could see round leaves.  Hints of the Birds bright orange peeked through, despite the gesso, so I grabbed them.

Nasturtiums Gone Wild is finished.  I varnished it tonight.

Just goes to show you, life can be easier if you learn to go with the flow.  Forcing things never works in the end.

I'm off to the kitchen - we have just picked sweet corn and more peaches from the Farmer's Market today!

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Little pieces of Nasturtiums Gone Wild....

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