painting on may 24 am (2)
detail of the work in progress

Some of my artist heroes, when painting drapery, would paint the folds first creating the three dimensional structures over which they would afterwards add the design patterns as they fold around curves and disappear around corners.

Me, I am so enamored with the patterns that my instinct is to go for the pattern first.  I just do this, I make no particular claims for the process.  Maybe I just don’t like to do my homework.

I’m thinking there’s a case for either approach (and for various approaches that are neither one nor the other).  As I see it the whole painting is flat anyway.  If you start with the patterns, you afterwards put folds where they seem to make sense and those folds curve however much they do.  One can always put more paint on top.  Indeed the picture consists of the paint that’s “on top.”

Well, that’s very true for this picture more than for most because underneath all the flowers and folds and patterns and whatnot are some toy horses.  I cannot put too much paint on the surface to make sure those horses never see the light of day again!

I’ve begun putting the vertical lines in the blue just to see how they add up with the rest of the painting.  Not sure yet whether all those lines will stay.  And I’m glad to paint over them or over anything else so that my horses don’t come trotting out.

And this painting is the warm up for The Big Painting.  I remind myself of that from time to time …


2 thoughts on “foreground, background, surface

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