January 4, 2018

The process – sixth entry: rolling up my sleeves.

Filed under: Work from the studio — kjames @ 7:59 pm

This last stage of painting doesn’t have a clear cut beginning or predictable ending. It is the hard part of any painting. Working my way through the process has the potential to flow quickly into fruitful completion, or it can suddenly mire into a slow series of challenging puzzles. 

It becomes a dance of moving ahead a step and taking two steps back, and feeling like it just keeps getting worse the more I try to fix what’s wrong. Paint goes on. Decisions are made. Occasionally the look of what you’ve just laid down can be a startling success.

Just as often, you can look at paint that has been down for a week or more and realize the layout or position just fails! The angle is wrong. The rhythm is broken. The flow doesn’t work. To save the work I sometimes need to scrub and scrape the part that’s wrong and paint again…and again. 

For example, I scrubbed out the limb that reached out across the upper part of the sky and painted a layer of white to begin repairs. 

The more times you need to back up and fix, the less spontaneity is evident in the paint handling, brush stroke, and movement, and the feel of the work begins to erode.

That revealed the stilted structure of the remaining limbs and makes me want to increase the changes to the tree. 

As the tree affects the sky, I am sensing that the ground now needs to get lighter to compensate for the lighter sky. This domino effect can either cause a positive regression to the point that things began to go wrong, resulting in a better finished piece, or it can circle the drain and unravel the whole painting.

I will be back when I have resolved this next part of the puzzle.

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