Wednesday, May 8, 2013


My painting experience the other day was a good example of how painting—creating a decent painting—is sometimes just insane. 

I worked very hard at the first round—trying to see "globally"; trying to respond; trying not to think; etc., and ended up with glop.  Too many notes, too much information. (Afterwards, I reminded myself:  Unity is much more important than capturing color.  Which is not to say it's not great to capture a multitude of colors IF you can preserve unity.)  I was played out by then, and almost out of time, but I knew I couldn't go backwards with that much paint on the board—so I scraped it all down with my palette knife, then wiped it down.  And, just for experiment's sake, started over.

I had a palimpsest of sorts, with a bare shadow of what had been there.  I laid in some middle tones, not making the effort to reach the intense colors that I'd been seeing in the sunlight—settling for the wan notes of the shady periods.  Then, with the paint in many areas still thin, I laid in some high/light notes, then some dark, and finished with some thick highlights, plus a few marks to show more movement/direction.  And damn if it didn't work.  Painting is crazy.

Can I take this lesson and learn from it? I'm inclined to doubt it.  I always seem to have to push beyond in order to go back to simplicity.  I'll try to learn from it, though.

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