I love how the visual ideas one entertains in the course of being an artist may lay dormant for a time, and then return as a nice surprise. 🙂
Last Wednesday night, with a head full of visual ideas, I entered the studio and started trying to get those ideas out on canvas. This is the first of 3 paintings I did in less than 24 hours. While this is not exactly what I envisioned I would be creating, so far, I’m very happy with the direction.
Painting abstractly, or non-objectively, is a much more intuitive process for me than the planned paintings from life. I start with some loose ideas for shapes, colors, and composition, begin adding some patches of paint, and then follow the brushes to see where they lead. In this case, they led back to some similar imagery I was exploring 2 years ago (see “Alien Kitchen” and “Twenty-Sixth Day Plus 100″ from the Hot Hot Summer series of Works on Paper).
I don’t think these paintings would have taken shape the way they did were it not also for my 2-month excursion back into representational paintings. I learned a lot from seriously concentrating on making brushstrokes (and I still have a lot left to learn), but I was champing at the bit to get back to abstraction. In just over 4 days, I’ve now created seven new small abstract paintings and started a couple of others. I’ll be posting one a day unless something (like work, illness or social life) causes me to take a break.
I intend to continue painting my new abstracts alla prima, or “all at once,” as I did with most of my recent still life paintings. What this means is the painting is started and finished in one painting session, while the paint is still wet. It lends a freshness to the work, in that my visual ideas of that day are transmitted to the painting in that session, but more importantly—at least when working in oil—the paints and paint strokes flow very well into, over, around, and through all the other paint strokes on the canvas. The other main option is to work in layers (“indirect painting”), where new paint is laid down over dry paint from a previous session, rather than becoming physically integrated with the earlier applications of paint. Plenty of artists work by painting in layers, and it’s an equally valid way of working, but alla prima is my preference.