Every part of the painting can teach you something. This morning I’m learning to think like the pattern maker.
Working on a large complex painting, one needs to break things into parts. It’s not just one painting: it’s many paintings stitched together. Each section becomes almost a separate painting to me — I am learning more and more to do this — and I strive to focus on that part and to see the possibilities that it holds within it.
Then one stands back to look at the whole thing. The introduction of these new parts has to jibe with the rest. It’s a back and forth.
I’m letting Brian Tracy coach me this morning. He writes, “The bigger your goal and the more intensely you desire it, the more likely you will be to exert your powers of self-discipline and will-power, and the more capable you will be of making yourself do the things that you need to do to get where you want to go.” (p 140, Maximum Achievement)
I must say, the color blue is a good coach too. The color blue always makes me want to do stuff.
I’m thinking about adding some pale floral elements to the blue field behind the current flower painting. They look so wonderful, changing as the light coming into the room changes, these patterns on a translucent curtain covering the eastern window.
Got to try a few of them out and see how it goes.
I love the color blue. Does it show?
Here’s how the painting looks on Friday night. I put the study on a table beside the easel to make it easier to draw from. The picture begins to feel more solid after a day of work. I love painting that vase — and I’m not done yet. The paint all over the canvas is very thick because I’m covering up parts of the earlier version. There’s still lots of things to figure out, of course — like the entire bunched up green cloth that takes up the whole bottom half.
Here’s a closer view. The painting measures 40 x 30 inches.
What a fun day of painting, working on this picture. You cannot look at blue and green all day with scattered red and yellow and violet and not be in a terrific mood.
Still quite a ways to go. But I’m very glad with this stage.
I have to find more flowers for the bouquet. I go in search of pictorial flowers. I look for them in the pictorial gardens. And a lot of things are beginning to bloom now that spring is here — even pictorial things.
Under the bright pictorial sun, with my face toward the pictorial wind, I walk through the pictorial field to pick flowers that I can bring back to my still life.
I get ideas for backgrounds from old shower curtains that filter light in the studio, with shadows of things behind them in a diffuse confusion.
There’s always more ideas around — more of keen longing — than one knows how to manage.
Lucy and Zoomie photobomb the picture I’m trying to take of a 30 x 40 inch acrylic canvas I found in storage that I’m going to over-paint with landscape. It’s exactly the same size as the painting that has got me stuck — so I could use it to rehearse a second version.
It’s the wrong size to serve as a proper format for an idea that I have in the hopper. But I’m inclined to use it to rehearse the new idea anyway (rather than deepen my obsession with the troublesome existing painting). Changing formats is like changing media — it can shake things up in interesting ways.
It will be interesting sometime later on to recall that this picture was underneath whatever landscape I decide to paint here.
The options are this:
or a more probably an elaborated version, in a different format, of this:
I made the version that’s light and airy (the previous post). Then I wondered how it might look at the other end of day. So I made this version.
I have a list of things to work on and I was supposed to be working my list. But then I got an idea about this motif, and it seemed like something that I should do instead.
Sometimes I seem to be dreaming while awake.
This is a beginning of something or other. Not sure where it’s going — only that it’s light.
This garden measures 34 x 28 inches. It’s more difficult to photograph properly than usual because the canvas itself is out of square slightly and then the camera adds its own curve distortion. But these photographs are ones I’m using for tracking. Later I will rephotograph all the paintings using a better camera.
Anyway, hopefully this painting makes sense of its reference drawing that I posted last week. The relationship between drawing and painting is much clearer now. The drawing was very abstract; this painting is still very abstract (and may remain so – I’m not sure), but things begin to emerge from the roiling curved forms. I am really pleased with the painting. Sometimes a picture will start to delight you as you are painting and this one went that way.
There’s a line near the top that runs the picture’s length horizontally. That marks the boundary that conforms to the reference photo I used. The picture is in the same ratio as the photograph inside that boundary. The bit of canvas above it is invention. I left the line up to this point so that I could more easily make drawing changes to the main part of the image. But I can cover the line up now because I know that none of the changes I’m likely to make going forward will profit by knowing where that boundary falls.
The preparatory drawing that I posted previously can be found here:
I decided to let loose with the paint over pretty much the whole scene. It has different colors with a slightly different ratio of sky to land and other changes of a “bustin’ loose” sort. This acrylic painting on canvas panel measures 18 x 14 inches.
I like it a lot better than before. I knew I would do this at some point, repaint it using a loaded brush. I just didn’t know when I’d do it. And now I’ve done it.
The earlier version is here: