Working on art, 3/6/9

Okay, a few quick shots, because twitpic isn’t working.  I may add to this after the initial posting. Depends on how busy I am between now and when I leave for tonight’s Art Walk.

I’ve been staring at this deep, deep, dark violet (8×10″) canvas I painted for a couple of months.  Then, last night, I knew what to paint and here it is:

Then I started on a few others – a red 5×7″, a brown 4×4″, and another 4×4″ which I started by painting the face of solid black (I’ve since painted the edges forest green), and then there’s the 8×10″ off-green thing I’ve been looking at as long as that purple one.

And then I went to bed.  Today I put another coat of red on the red one and then painted this on the green 8×10″:

I like painting the foreground as background, and painting the background over it.  It’s like a study in negative space, and I like the effect.

Update 1:

This is what I did with the brown 4×4″ painting:

I tried to show part of the edge, here – these 4×4″ canvases have a 1.25″ depth, so I enjoy doing interesting things that play beyond the front face.  here I just did simple extended purple corners, showing how the implied diamond just keeps on keepin’ on.

process of painting ‘1, 2, 3, 4, ‘

This one should be the most fun, though perhaps the least inspired, originally. On account of I shot a video of part of it. (Scroll down to see it.)

I started sketching in a cheap sketch-book I had on-hand, while waiting for the paint on ‘darkness looming‘ to dry, and started trying to see what might turn into another new painting. After several pages of messy nothing, I came up with a sketch for a something I liked. Sadly, for you, I didn’t take a picture if it, and I’m not going to, now. Maybe later. Anyway, it seemed interesting enough, and I annotated a few lines and spaces with ideas for colors, and after finishing the inking on ‘darkness looming‘, I started to work on the first layer of ‘1, 2, 3, 4, ‘. This layer was intended to be seen only in the vertical split between the left 2/3 and right 1/3 of the painting, and in the square in the lower right corner, but I wanted to do it right (and add a layer of texture) so I painted the entire canvas.


1, 2, 3, 4, - process step 1 1, 2, 3, 4, - process step 2

1, 2, 3, 4, - process step 3 Then I waited half a day for that to dry. And then, before I started working on the painting again, I set up a video camera to capture the rest of the process. I put a line of 1/2″ tape vertically on the canvas, and cut out a square of tape for the square – it’s like a sort of stencil; where I put the tape, the purple remains when I paint over the rest. Then I painted on the red circle, the blue background, the off-color right-side… You’ll watch the video and see it, right? I don’t need to describe it all in detail? Well, I painted on the colors, and as I’ve learned to do from countless past tape-involved projects before, I pulled up the tape while the paint was still wet. So, to explain the next part of the video: tape isn’t perfect. So some of the paint leaks under. What you can see me doing is cleaning up the worst of it, trying to maintain the purple background as intact as possible without hurting the (still wet) pink and blue foreground. The image you see at right is the painting when this process was complete; the main elements of color are present, but I hadn’t yet put on any borderlines, and certainly hadn’t painted the most-foreground element (the black, horizontal lines), so this image is sort-of an in-between-takes image. It was taken in between where the camera angle changes in the video. The camera angle changed, by the way, because I waited until the next day for it to dry, and I had to put away the camera before Mandy came home, or it would have blocked the walkway.

After the new color layer had dried, it was time to deal with the remaining (slight) leakage (mostly of white) at the edges of where the tape had been. I had taken a day to think about it, and had decided to use pearlescent purple and blue paint pens to both clarify the division by increasing the contrast from one color to another, and to cover up an otherwise unsightly evidence of my process which (in my opinion) did not improve the end result. The video of my tracing the outlines of the previously-taped sections is not particularly interesting, but I decided to just leave it all in. Then, semi-satisfied with the result of the colors, and after the paint from the paint pens had had a chance to dry, it was time for the three rough, black lines that overlap the piece. I put them vaguely on (for scale, placement, and some semblance of erraticism) first in Sharpie, then with a paintbrush and black paint. I knew exactly what I wanted, and it was no problem to execute this final step. There were only minor touch-ups of the black lines after the video camera was turned off, and ‘1, 2, 3, 4, ‘ was ready for hanging.

So that’s how I made this painting.  The title was selected while it was still a sketch, and ‘1, 2, 3, 4, ‘ is now available for purchase at

1, 2, 3, 4, - finished

painting ‘darkness looming’

darkness looming - process step 1 Okay, this one will be quick.  It was the last of the paintings based on blurry photos of doodles I made at work last year.  Painted this one Thursday, 5/15/2008.  I’d been thinking about it for a while.  Thinking pretty seriously all week this week, about how I wanted to go from a blurry simple line drawing to a painting.  I considered just doing ink on paper or some other more common media… But I decided that for the background on this one I wanted to have a slight gradation from blackBlackBlack at the top to pure, unpainted white for at least the bottom half of the canvas.  I considered painting the white canvas white, even doing some more complex, swirly, flowing, sort of out-of-the-head-and-up and into black abstract thing.  But I decided to just take some water, wet half the canvas, take some black paint, black the very top and with water only, work small amounts of the black pigment down the canvas in long, nearly-horizontal strokes.  Then, I took the photograph on the right, to  show off all the excitement of watching paint dry.  Literally.

darkness looming - process step 2 darkness looming - process step 3

While I waited, I sketched and doodled, and otherwise tried to come up with another idea for a painting.  It turned out to be ‘1, 2, 3, 4, ‘ …  Anyway, after that excitement ((don’t tip the canvas, don’t move it, the blackness might move “wrong”)), when the black was dried, I used several sharpies to draw the figure.  I won’t bother pretending that it went exactly as I’d hoped.  Well, the proportions came out right.  The feet are good, the angles on the legs, through the knees, up to the shoulders, the angles were good.  The hands (well, ends of the arms) were just how I wanted them.  But then… well, the head’s shape wasn’t 100% right.  And trying to fix it … well, it didn’t … I’m not 100% happy with it.  I’m not 90% happy with it.  My original thought for the figure was that he was looking down, the line across the head being the eye-line, the dark note along the bottom edge being a hint of mouth.  Then, due to errors, the dark at the bottom became increasingly a shadow, a thick line, and… well, when Mandy saw the finished work hanging on the wall when she came home, she said the figure looked happy – the line is a smile in her eyes.  Which I’m now having trouble not seeing.

So, that was that.  This is a simple piece, based on a simple sketch.  Titled ‘darkness looming’, it is now available for purchase at

darkness looming - finished