Sunday, May 27, 2007

I often wonder if someone following this blog can see the difference in a given work from one day to the next. As I mentioned in an earlier post, even Tom sometimes can't tell what I've done.

A few posts back, when I was writing about the spider mum still life, I talked about there being three stages of a painting. I was then working on finishing. With this piece I am in the middle stage. Emotionally I'm past the first big rush of inspiration. On the canvas, the painting has been thoroughly stated: there aren't going to be any big compositional changes at this point. Now the painting feels like a piece of clay. One day I push it in one direction, the next day I push it another, coaxing it into essential form.

Last time I worked on the rocks in the foreground. This takes skilled painting. It's all close values and color triads: one step up, one step down, a half step cross, and red, blue, yellow, an intricate dance. Do that long enough and your head spins but if you do it right the beautiful abstractions of value progression and color prism start to coalesce into an illusion of concrete reality: rock.

Today I went in the other direction: luminosity, atmosphere, vibrations of light in water-soaked air. I let my mind melt into the vast swimming space and listened to the big pulsing circular rhythms. I dipped my brush in a fluid soup of medium tinged with color and traced what I heard on the canvas.

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