And finally, Floating. I have always loved Henry Matisse’s cut outs that the artist did in the last years of his life. When I saw these two Polynesia works at The Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the three figures sitting in front of them literally being drawn into the floating images…I was there.
Sometimes one the most difficult parts of a painting is deciding what to paint.
I often take many, many photographs and tape them to my studio wall, hoping that something will jump out at me.
This is after hours of playing with the images. Re-cropping. Adding or subtracting and re-adding figures. Deciding which color palette fits the mood of the scene. Shadows. Light and dark.
Then, finally, once it is sketched on the canvas, deciding on the ground color that will set the tone for future layers of paint.
And it is always at this middle stage of the painting that I wonder if it was really the right decision.
I recently was reading an art tutorial blog and the artist mentioned this middle period of horror when you think all the hours you have put in are for naught! I thought it was just me that had to force myself to work through this phase. Obviously it is a common issue.
But finally I come out on the other side, and I am happy. It’s when I breathe that final light into the canvas that the image lets itself be born.
I don’t stop working on a painting as readily as I once used to. If I come back the next morning and some area just doesn’t seem quite right, I work with it. And sometimes it might get worse before it gets better. It takes immense concentration, patience (not my strongest virtue) and focus.
But experience has taught me it is worth the frustration. Finally, one morning, I come back in to the studio and just breathe a deep sigh of satisfaction and relief. The painting is finally alive. And finished.
All photos and images by me.