Monday, January 31, 2011

Stuff That's Simmering

When pieces are in the Not Quite Ready for Sharing category, they sit in the living room where we can walk by them a throughout the day and evening. They are also positioned so that when I work out, I can study them. It's a little like letting the turkey rest when you take it out of the oven, except that you can put the painting back into the oven, so to speak, if it's not quite done.

Sometimes, after a few days, a glaringly obvious problem will appear. If that doesn't happen, I'll turn the piece upside down to see if I missed anything. At some point, the piece returns to the studio for rework or a coat of varnish.

This is one of the pieces I brought down from the studio. What you don't see in this earlier version is the addition of a hawk. The hawk is critical to this painting and it took quite a bit of the time to add it. It could be the crowning touch or the reason I cover the painting over with whatever is left on my palette to begin again. Adding elements like the hawk can destroy a painting, taking it from a wonderful expression to a smaltzy piece of crap—like adding the teardrop to the kitten with the big eyes (not that there is any hope of wonderful expression in that example).

So, it sits and we debate, "Does the hawk work or does it look stupid?" The consensus this morning is that it works, but needs a minor tweak or two. I need to think about how I'm going to tackle that for a few days though.

Trickster spent many days, two or three times in the Viewing Area. I looked and looked at this painting. This fellow did not want me to capture his likeness. I struggled and repainted parts of him several times. It's funny that I did not give up and wipe him away. I guess I wanted to beat the trickster and show him that I could capture his likeness. He now lives with our friend Bob, so he's not too far away.

Have you ever struggled with something long after you would have normally given up? What do you think prompted you to go on?

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