Friday, December 06, 2013

Daily Painting Practice in Maine - How many paintings in progress do you have?

So close to finishing I could almost smell the salt water.

This painting is very close to being finished. It is a very dangerous time in the development of a painting. Sometimes it is better to walk away and come back later with fresh eyes, or get someone else to look at it. Turn it upside down, look in a mirror, or move it to another room, all of these methods help to spot any weak or overly strong areas. But there is also a time when you need to grab a larger brush and be daring, brave, and yes even foolish.  Just jump into the painting process with abandonment. Park your fear in a corner. Don't be careless but carefree. You may be surprised at the result. I did that just prior to taking this photo.
Painting in Progress - working title -The Rise and Fall?
To me, something was missing in the brush work, I was overly tight with the surf had too many pieces. Nothing held the water together. So I grabbed an abnormally extra large round brush and attacked the foreground waves. 
I feel I put more life into the painting. I could have destroyed it. .... I'll now walk away and look at it fresh tomorrow.

In the mean time I had an interesting comment and question on last week's blog from (Barbra Peterson) . ( I love those last two paintings on her blog)  It was a such a great comment I thought I would  post it  and  give my answer here.

 Here is Barbara's question:
"I notice you generally have several paintings going at once. Is that to let one painting dry as you work on another? Are you keeping the excitement level (or pace) up by moving from one canvas to the next? Are you executing on many ideas to keep things fresh? Would you elaborate?"

My answer is YES to all of the above. I always work on several paintings at once for all the reasons Barbara mentioned.  But when I went to count them I was surprised at the number.... At last count I have over 20 works in progress!  Yikes!!!! 

Works in progress piling up
Here are  a few in the studio at various stages. Some are getting close to being  signed, some are 50%, some are only color studies or plein air pieces waiting to transfer to larger canvas. And  finally, some are just thumbnails in a sketchbook. This does not include the number of ideas I have backlogged in my head as possibles. 

The strange part is that the list is continually growing.  My mind constantly picks up new ideas. Here are two examples of painting ideas at the very point of conception. These may grow into one or several paintings. 

first snow
 This is our first snow. Just looking out my back door I am thinking of an entire series of paintings involving those rocks. Then  while I was driving  home...

I passed this boat.  Something about it caught my attention, enough for me to stop and take the photo. I'll let it germinate in my mind and come back to it at different times.  I'm wondering how interesting will it look covered in snow? It may be something it may be nothing.... and so the ideas go and grow.

So you can see I have no problem with generating paintings... the problem is always finishing the ones I start before another comes along to snag my attention.


Barbara P said...

Thanks for answering and sharing about your process - very informative. (And thanks for the plug.)

To have 20 paintings and ideas going at the same time is impressive. I have 3 larger paintings in process and a bunch of thumbnails in my sketchbook -- still working them out in my brain.

Theresa Grillo Laird said...

I so identify with this! I also have about 20 in progress. The ideas come quicker than I can get them down.