I’m not used to having a complete idea for a painting when I start to work. And coming up with abstract compositions, for me, is still much more challenging than painting a representational work, where I just paint what I see. Working abstractly is usually much more a process of discovery of the image.
Not so with this, my latest painting, which was started and almost completed in about half-a-day one Sunday. It is kind of amazing to me that an abstract painting this size — 24″ x 24″ — could be done so quickly. Many of my paintings that are 1/4 or 1/8 the size of this tend to present much more of a struggle and can take days or weeks to create.
With this one, the basic idea came to me early one Sunday afternoon, and by late afternoon, I had filled out my concept for how the rest of it would go. Then it was just a matter of sketching the basic structure on canvas, and then painting it. I did spend a couple of nights making some adjustments to it, but still to me, this is speed painting! In some ways, painting this was similar to painting a representational work, as I already knew what went where, and then it was just a matter of doing it.
There’s a barbeque joint in downtown Austin called House Park Bar-B-Q whose motto is “Needs no teef to eat my beef.” This title is a play on that motto, and also refers back to my last painting. Hope you like!
I didn’t paint this to be about fracking, but I had just read an article about it, and the title seemed to fit this piece. I try to keep politics out of my paintings, but they seem to creep into my titles.
Or I could have called it something about “pressure.” Whatever.
This is, for all practical purposes, my first red painting (I have one other in progress, and I did two small ones in acrylic on paper — just sketches — over the years, but those hardly seem to count). When I take a look at most of the art I have done, a few have red in them, but most do not.
On Friday, I started out with images from Hundertwasser in my head, an idea about concentric circles, and a desire to paint a primarily red painting. This one was really quite a struggle! I scraped and wiped it down entirely twice; two whole days of work obliterated and scraped and wiped down 3/4 of the painting one final time before it started to come together.
And now I love it and am thinking of extending it into a four-panel piece (in a square).
A delightful Valentine’s dinner conversation with my sweetie produced the title: “Flamingo Mallets.” 😀 I’ve always loved Lewis Carroll! (I used to copy Tenniel’s Alice in Wonderland illustrations in pen and ink as a teenager).
So, Happy Valentine’s Day — without further ado, here is my first red painting.
After copying a Picasso last week, I started seeing so many things differently! Palette, shapes, composition…my copy of his painting in among my own paintings made my work pale in comparison. 🙁
OK, well, no surprise there.
I tried to return to what I had been doing before the Picasso copy and started using colors from his palette to attack this work that was already in progress. Picasso kept interfering as I struggled with thoughts of the strength of his work.
A few days and many changes later, I finally got back into the rhythm of my own vision and ended up here. FWIW.
This is the third and final little rubber robot toy; this one is kind of a speed racer. He was both hard and fun to paint. He’s very small and yet full of so much detail, but the detail is so tiny, it’s hard to discern. His little face is actually not very detailed and kind of strange-looking. Each of these little guys is in fact a slightly different color; one is more bright green, one more army green, and this one is in-between bright and army green.
I aimed again for looseness with these last two paintings; it continues to be a struggle to overcome 20 years of painting habits, but I’m not unhappy with these.
This is the second of three little rubber robot toys that have accompanied me on my desktop computers for at least the past 15 years. (Don’t tell the other two, but this guy is my favorite of the three). His posture kind of reminds me of Kevin Kline’s character in “Dave,” hence the title.
With last night’s painting I am asking myself if what I am trying to achieve is looser and better brushwork while standing at arm-plus-brush length from the canvas, why am I using little toys for models that are sometimes as small as 1-1.5 inches high? I can barely see them from my vantage point, and find that I do have to move in closer from time to time.
On the other hand, I am really enjoying painting paintings of these little toys, even though their tiny size is not as conducive to my loosening up as, say, a basket of apples would be. Well, it’s all a process, and with each new (almost) daily painting, I learn a little more or gain a little confidence. Tonight, I was quite pleased with a few really good brushstrokes, and sometimes, that’s enough. 🙂
As with all of my small still life paintings here, it is painted on a 1.25″ deep gallery wrapped canvas with the sides painted black, so it is ready to hang on a wall, without a frame (it would also look great in a floater frame).
Here’s another tiny painting of a little desk toy — this one of a flipping mouse. I seem to get tighter one day, looser the next, tighter the day after that. This one’s tighter; I was aiming for looser. Gonna be a hard habit to break, that tight close blending style of painting.
I want to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday! May you enjoy this season with loved ones in health and harmony, and may the next year be full of love, happiness and creativity. And I thank you for your support all these years. 😀
In honor of the holidays, I have curated not just one, but three, wonderful Treasuries of luscious paintings, all celebrating the color red.
Paint it Red! – Part 1 of 3
Celebrating the painters of Etsy who celebrate the color red. Black and white and red all over.