Saturday, November 29, 2014

getting from here to there

Work in Progress - oil on panel - 12 x 16"
"How do you know when to stop painting?"  
It's kind of an age-old question for artists.  

For me it's a gut feeling.  Basically, if the painting is saying what I want it to say, I feel it's done.  BUT there are  times I might start a painting without a clear idea of what it is I want to say.  I'm can be delighted about the sheer joy of my subject or process and I get swept up in the moment, forgetting about focusing on the idea.
stage 1             stage 2                    stage 3
That is okay; we all need our playtime... it keeps the first stage loose and genuine.

When I began this painting I was at my friend Sherry's house, she had invited me for a paint-day get together, something we've been occasionally doing over the past few years.  It is such a fun time.  We paint, do coffee while painting, do lunch, chat, paint some more and our cup runneth over with good times. It's no wonder then that I began the painting in a joyful mood, and didn't bother to focus much. ha ha.  who cares. some things are more important!  It's funny I remember looking at it that day and commenting to Sherry..."What's with this looks like I painted it in grade 4!"  ha ha ha.  I took my little painting home and set it on the shelf in my studio.  I knew it wasn't done, but I didn't know what to do with it...I liked the freshness and simplicity, but it wasn't conveying anything, and I wanted it to.  stage 1.

Two weeks later I woke up and the first thing I thought about was putting a bicycle in that painting, and I was excited; for me, excitement is a good sign! I decided do something about it.  After all, as it was, the painting wasn't satisfying to me. I knew I would have to do major surgery. BUT, I had a PLAN! and hope. The oil medium is so wonderful for allowing changes of heart and direction. I could never have done that with watercolours, and I know I'd struggle trying to do it with acrylics. When I went to bed that night I had stage 2.

Stage 3 was resolved last night. I painted out some of the tulips, created more space around the bike(never underestimate the element of space). I simplified the background tulips so they became a unified shape. I also really paid attention to the edges of the tree shapes.

So that's how I got from here in stage 1 to there in stage 3.  I will let it percolate for a while longer (while I work on another painting) and in a few days I hope to hear it speaking to me.




  1. It's such a beautiful and fresh painting, and somehow I think it's great in every step , could have been done even in step one, lovely work !

  2. I love this description and the painting every step of the way.

    XOXOXOXO Barbara

  3. Hi Jane, thanks I like the word fresh, that's what appealed to me about it, and I fear I may have overworked a little, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. thanks for your encouragement.

  4. Hi Barbara,
    it's funny, the series was focused on bicycling, but the latest paintings are definately more of a tulip focus as i go along. they seem to steal all the attention!


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