I've started to feel that, in painting,
there are no small changes. Broad or slight adjustments both make
something completely new. You can work on an image for years,
scraping the form to illegibility at the end of each session,
painting it back the next day--until something happens that you
The following two figures took weeks
not years, but a continuous transformation of the image was what I
was looking for. It felt crucial to risk form, color, whatever was
already strong, to extend & open-out the painting.
The first day on "Water
Garden" gave me a basic drawing in color. The balanced motion of
the figure was lost & regained over time.
|"Water Garden" - version 1|
I usually take photographs at the end
of the day & often shift to black & white to focus on
structure. In this version, the figure has changed from fluid
roundness to sharp angularity. I'm testing the waters to see how far
to push toward abstraction & find an alternate way to thread the
figure through the space.
|"Water Garden" - version 3|
Most of the linear elements &
color-notes of the finished painting are suggested but not integrated
here. The result is that the figure feels generalized & also disconnected from the surroundings.
|"Water Garden" - version 6|
In the final image, heavier paint
application & surface density helped to solve some problems.
|"Water Garden" - oil on canvas, 36" X 36"|
Near the end of "Water Garden",
I started a second, smaller painting of the same pose just to see
where it might go. "Water Garden 2" began with less drawing
but more segmented color. Still, the dominance of mass over contour
was a useful starting point.
|"Water Garden 2"- version 1|
There weren't many details in the next
version; even so, I felt like I'd veered too close to the source
material (sketches & photos from the model). If I'd continued in
this way, the results might have been more of a drawing than a
|"Water Garden 2"- version 2|
Here, though the forms were awkward &
indistinct, I'd started to pull one color through another. It wasn't
unified yet, but it was on its way.
|"Water Garden 2"- version 3|
The living compromise is the painting
you end up with. If you need to, you can always deceive yourself into
thinking it was fully intentional.
|"Water Garden 2"- oil on canvas, 24" X 20"|