I’ve always said I love the process of painting when the happy accident occurs. You can ask anyone who knows me—I’m not a great planner, hence the happy accident sometimes saves the day.
When I start painting I work roughly from reference photos. The 24″x24″ painting below was started last May
From initial washes, I tape out the colored shapes and add more definite, thicker paint to each broad area. This is about as far as my planning goes. From here I continue to mess with color, add random patterns, skew the angles and proceed. By keeping the process loose and not thinking too much, I invite the happy accident in. Perhaps it’s a color that throws the whole painting off. Or a weird angle that suddenly shifts the perspective of the whole painting.
When this happens, it causes me to rethink the direction the painting is going. It’s the domino effect of art. It’s the point at which my will intersects with the will of the painting. A struggle occurs, but it’s one I enjoy since I love problem solving. The new direction the painting takes keeps the process fresh and gives new energy to the painting (and to me).
In my experience, some paintings just seem to come together effortlessly. Others, not so much. I haven’t been able to figure out why this occurs—is it that I’m starting with a better idea in one case and something awkward in the other? Not in the proper mood when I get started? Color choices so difficult that there’s no way out?
In the case of the painting-in-progress shown, it’s been a battleground from start to present. I’ve been working on this 24″x24″ panel for months off and on. It’s morphed and then morphed again. The question comes up—when does one give up? I don’t seem to be capable of doing this. So I motor on, stewing about how to resolve the issues I see.
I turned the painting upside down and sideways for a different look. I briefly toyed with the idea of keeping it sideways. Cast that idea away and proceeded right-side-up. Added a stencil. First just to the bottom right. After this I added the stencil to the top. After many more small changes it started to come together.
And here it is, finally finished.