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Friday, September 3, 2010

HOW a painting is made

Just having put the finishing touches on a painting I started last spring- it occurs to me that the process might be of interest to some. It certainly baffles me! Where did this painting come from? How did it get here?
I really do not have a clear answer.
When I start a painting it is often from a seed of an idea. The finished image is a culmination of a dialogue through out the process... the paint talks to me. The image yells at me. I keep stabbing and "fixing" it until it rests calmly.

So... looking backwards... the idea for this untitled painting came about last spring. As I was leaving an art opening this young woman, resting her chin carefully on her fingers caught my eye... she seemed dreamy and lost... and best of all, she gave me permission to photograph her! In the early summer I found the appropriate sized panel and sketched her in...with a slight change to her bench. Immediately the redness scared me, and I felt there was too much exposed ground for the figure to float in. I wasn't sure what I was trying to say so I zoomed in to focus more on the chin resting. After a few fitful painting attempts I took the panel outside to find the right setting for my figure. I was looking for hay-bales, but just missed them. All the farmers had pulled them off the fields- In fact the sky was cloudy and threatening. I found a murky slime green pond around the corner from my house. It was perfect and in less than two hours I had a setting. THEN, the direct nature of the stag, it's veritable precious whiteness, started annoy me... my answer was to try and disguise him. I Xeroxed my piano bench for the tapestry texture and thinking of the Unicorn tapestries I slowly layered the stag with weave and maps and flowers... After another month I worked into the flesh tones of the female figure, glazed some warm tones, and added some text. This September, five months after the germinating idea, I topped off the sky with map transfers and the trees with map names...
No title has come to me of yet. I am open to suggestions. According to my habitual pattern, I know it takes me aother two years to get an understanding of what the MEANING of the painting might be. Right now I just wrestle with intuition, guts, and my eyes.
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