Friday, January 13, 2006

This is a study for one of my earliest figure paintings, "Stirring the Pot". It has been sitting around half-finished for about ten years. I always wanted to finish it and got the perfect motivation last week when a prospective client expressed interest in the first version which has long since sold. The image on the bottom is the sketch before I started working on it and the one on the top is after two days work.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I visited my parents over the holidays and when I was there I saw a lot of my early student work since that is mostly what they have on the walls. It is interesting to see my old stuff. Some of it (not much) amazes me with its vigor and poetry, but mostly I wince at the poor drawing and weak paint quality. This little painting of rocks and a stream was propped up on the kitchen counter where I couldn't avoid seeing it and slowly it began to drive me nuts. I don't remember painting it but, judging by the signature and subject matter, I must have done it about twenty-five years ago. The water isn't bad, but the rocks just look like pink potatoes to me and the lack of depth makes me crazy. I longed to take a brush to it: open up the space, make the rocks hard and bring the sunlight dazzling in. I told my mother I'd take it home and fix it up for her (she gave me a fishy look and muttered something about not letting me in the house anymore) When I got it in my studio I decided to make a copy for myself.

Finished, finally. Finishing a painting always feels like the end of final exams. I want to throw my brushes in the air and go outside; read a book; see people; just have fun and relax and forget the effort.

The final struggle was with the right hand. I thought about leaving it vague, but decided it would look unfinished. So I spent a day putting it down, wiping it out, and putting it down again as I tried to get just the right attitude and expression. I ended the day almost exactly where I began but it was worth it: I had worked through every possibility. When I woke up the next morning I knew just what to do and I painted fluidly, easily, and with confidence and finished it. Yippee.