Stage 1 – the Beginning
At the start of any new painting, the first step is just to get color on the canvas as far as I’m concerned. At this point, the color might even be of little significance. At best it’s going to set the stage, at worst it will be completely obliterated before the final brush pass is made. And sometimes, it actually makes for a pretty amazing first impression – but I know better than to ever allow myself to fall in love with it, cuz like all great first impressions, it won’t last.
Stage 2 – the exploratory phase
After laying down the first colors, sometimes it’s fun to play with that initial image and see what can come out of a little bit of just pushing it – adding more colors to the combination and working with the first outlines to see where they might go. Of course, again, it’s important not to fall in love with this Stage unless it just absolutely rocks your world … needless to say, this one didn’t rock mine.
Stage 3 – the Fade Out or taking the work in a new direction
Stage 3 usually is when I toss in the can, mix some new colors and start painting in a completely different direction. At this point, the main job of the initial stages is simply to provide depth to the painting as additional layers are brought into play. In this painting, I basically used a wash with a lift off to make a shrowd or veil over the initial colors that might peek through in the final work or might not at all. In other words, I was really not liking where the first painting was heading and needed to start over pretty much from scratch.
Stage 4 – Experiment in with the new direction – something might come from this … or not.
Stage 4 – I don’t always get to Stage 4, I should insert here – anyway, Stage 4 in this case was an exploration of the implied shapes and movement that survived my veil overlay of the initial Stages. Even though the first two Stages were pretty well covered over entirely, some highlights and low-lights were still visible, enough to let me follow their rhythm with a more muted color play. This involved broader brush strokes and thicker paint application … and the addition of my beloved black line work – that somehow usually comes into play at some point in the process.
Stage 5 and calling it ‘good’ – “on the road from here to there” – 36″ x 36″, acrylic on canvas
Stage 5 is tricky. At this point, if I can’t find my way to a final groove, odds are that what will follow is a complete start over – back to square one and just forget that Stages 1 through 4 ever took place. In the case of “on the road from here to there”, I somehow found a groove that worked at this Stage. The painting found its footing and at this point I was comfortable to add my name to it and take it home to play in some pastel highlighting that would just bring the underlying muted color tones forward a bit more.
I don’t have a good photo of the final painting, other than the glimpse of it in this photo taken of it hanging in the front window at Tsuga Fine Arts and Framing in Bothell, WA. Feeling pretty good about this evolution – hope it tickles your fancy as well.
Tsuga Fine Arts and Framing front window display