Saturday, September 1, 2018


An unfinished painting that I recently unearthed.
     Greetings! Every month it seems like I just get my blog updated, and I have turn around and get a new one up. I remember when I was updating weekly, and I thought the turn around was quick. Since I have switched to the monthly format, I thought I might get some more time to reflect on my posts. Nope!

     Anyway, I was recently rummaging through some of my old paintings in my mother's basement. I was looking for a particular image that I wanted to send to an art show. I couldn't find that image, but I came across the one depicted above. It is incomplete, and I'm not sure I remember why I abandoned it. It is a fantastic image, and I now have it up and plan to finish it. 

A close-up of the cells in the painting

      As I look that this image. I vaguely remember being disappointed in the way the cells were revealing themselves. In the closeup above, you can see the detail of the "bubbles," or individual cells I was trying to depict. These are made with tiny impressions in the paper, and my hope was that the watercolor would collect in these areas, and make the circles stand out more. This didn't happen, and when one looks at the overall image it can be difficult to see the tiny indentations.

      As I look at the image now, I don't see this as a problem. It just means the viewer has to spend a little more time sussing out the details. Isn't it funny how time can change the way one sees their own work? Each time I begin an image, I have in mind how I would like it to turn out. But of course this rarely happens. The real and the ideal are two  completely different things, as Plato pointed out many centuries ago. Very often I am disappointed with the final image of something I have painted, and I have found this to be true for many artists I have talked with. In the case of this painting, I never even made it to the final image. I gave up before it could get that far.

    However, I now think the painting deserves a second chance. I don't really remember where I was hoping for this mage to go. With fresh eyes, I can see new places for me to take it, and the painting has a new lease on life. This isn't the first time I have pulled out an image of mine that I had put away in disgust. It's also not the first time I have reexamined a work and decided it is not as bad as I thought. The takeaway here is that if you don't like where your art, or project, or whatever it is you are working on is going, put it away for a bit. When you pull it out later it may just inspire you to work in a new direction!

      As you may recall, this is the image I am currently working on. I wanted to include this as part of a mixed media piece. I sometimes like to work with mixed media imagery. Back when I was studying ceramics I had a teacher who was all about making parts. One would throw on the wheel, or create a spout, pull a handle, or any of a number of ways of working with clay. Then after there were a number of individual clay components, once could assemble them together to create a unique vessel or form. It was a nice way to create freely. 

The current image I'm working on.

      I find that the same ideas can apply towards a painting. One begins with an image, maybe several kinds of paper, some textures, some colors, and then all these elements are put together in one image. It's just another way of working, and the finished image can sometimes be a surprise. I'm now at the point where I need to create a stretcher in order to add all these elements together.

Construction of stretchers.

      I don't work in a terribly large space. So the few times I have needed to build a stretched canvas, I have had to work outside. Lately, the weather in Louisiana has been quite rainy. When you need to work outside, this can slow things down. So for now I'm working between storms trying to get this done. Hopefully I will have this finished soon, and can share it with you. 

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