Wednesday, August 12, 2009

OK, now back to work!

20 x 16 x 1 • acrylic on cradled Gessobord

SOLD • private collection, Placitas, New Mexico

These black-eyed susans grow wild, along with the honeysuckle and morning glories, just about everywhere around here in the summer. I love ’em! For this painting I started out with a blending of images from two different locations; one less than a mile from our place,

and the other a few miles farther north. (I flipped the road around for my composition.)

My number one rule when I start a new painting is: Don’t skimp on the amount of time you spend on planning the composition. Sometimes I go a little overboard on this, but it’s really, really difficult to get a strong painting out of a weak composition. Some artists can do their composing as they go, but I am definitely NOT one of those artists. I really have to decide on my subject arrangement right at the beginning.

Which is not to say that I consider the initial arrangement set in stone or anything; I mean, you have to be flexible as you go. You never know when the painting might take on a life of its own and some element of the composition will practically demand to be changed.

Mostly what happens to me, though, is that the color and light change as I go, and I’ll accidentally do something and go, “oh no ... oh, cool ... I think I’ll keep that." I love it when that happens.

A few years ago I spent some time with the local art council teaching kids to paint after school, and I wrote down some of the things they would say about making art. One of my favorites: "I didn’t mean for that part to look like that, but I think it’s kind of cool, so I’m gonna let it stay that way.”

Here are some close-up details of today’s painting:

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