The Evolution of a Painting

March 31, 2016 @ 9:21 am

Occupied Space, 50x30 inches, Oil on Canvas, $2500Occupied Space

This week’s blog will be short and about 1 painting. I’m saying that because I have no idea if anyone is reading this post and if you are a response would be appreciated.

This is a painting I started over 3 months ago. To let my work dry and because of the number of paintings going on at one time, I hang them on the wall. This one was at the end of my bed so it was the first and last thing I saw each day for some time. The more I looked at it the more I felt like it was dull along with several others with similar geometric shapes. I was also making advances in modeling the figures, learning how to soften the colors. This was by trail and error and looking at how other painters worked. I learn a lot just from looking.

I took the painting off the wall but had no idea where it was going or what would happen. I knew 2 things: I could mess up a painting I was not happy with or I could learn something new. (For every painting I keep at least 2 end up in the trash – not good odds.) At this point I was working on 5 paintings so I could do small parts and let the paint dry and not rush the drying time.

First of all, I wanted to create the illusion of space. Hence the dark area with the red line on the right. This was several layers of color with a stiff brush. I like the effect so I did the same technique on the other side using lighter colors. This took about a week of layering colors.

There also needed to be something behind her to give more depth. But in the end I’m not sure if it comes across as a window or a picture behind her. Either way it added to the ambiguity of the painting and brought about more questions as to what the painting is about. The ice berg part took about 10 glazes of paint. (A glaze is a thin layer of transparent paint.)

I still wasn’t there yet. The left side had taken on the look of a possible hall way or room. One night after working and I was turning lights off a shadow fell on the left side. It was a happy accident and I just painted in the shadow that was there in real life.

I also wanted her body movement to be more…it had to give the impression of meaning something. Plus I wanted more color in the skin tones and softer modeling. That ended up being about 5 layers of paint.

There could have been anything in or above her hand. There is a world of things it could be. If it was an object, then to me it was too obvious a conclusion. In the end it was a whiff of smoke or a cloud or dust that gave the shadow more of a mystery.

The end result to me is a load of questions for the viewer to sort out and that is why I paint. It allows me to engage those who want to think about what they are looking at. I never really know what the paintings are about but I enjoy creating mysteries even I can’t solve.