Sometimes, when I get started on a painting, I have an idea going in. Not always, but sometimes. Sometimes, even when I have an idea going into a painting it gets quite derailed by things in my life.
While I don’t really paint much based on my own feelings anymore (more just trying to evoke emotions in general), it tends to happen anyway when things in my life affect me.
With this painting, I was planning on having a nice, smooth background on which I could add layers of paint and intrigue or something. It was going to be about layers and colors, but then stuff happened and I was all emotional and I did this to it:
(The “this” referring to all the drippy sadness I added to the painting.)
There were going to be no drips in the underpainting because I really wanted to try something new. I was going to paint the bottom layer, let it dry completely and then paint over it.
The drips often end up defining my paintings, and I wanted to try to move away from that for this one.
So I was going to go drip-free, at least for the underpainting. But then I got all sad and that (apparently) dictated how my painting was going as well. It was obviously still a work in progress, and part of me wanted to paint over the drips and create something else entirely, but part of me felt like it was too late to turn back.
Of course, that part didn’t win out. I ended up covering the blue drips with a relatively solid layer of light yellows and oranges. Those colors aren’t completely opaque, so you can still see a bit of where the blue drips lived.
I liked this stage of the painting, but I knew I was nowhere near done. While vertical yellow lines with blue stuff under it is fine, I wanted a more dynamic composition. Because of my last post, I’ve had that wave on my mind lately. I think that’s what inspired the next layer of paint on this canvas.
I brought back the blues but didn’t completely cover the yellows, giving it a layered and textured look. I focused more on adding highlights and shadows, but at this stage the painting still isn’t done. I want more layers and more depth. More intricate details.
I’m still working on this piece, but I’m going slowly because I don’t want to overwork it. I like the place it’s at now, but I know with the right colors and brushstrokes that it will become something I love.
Let’s See How Far We’ve Come
It’s interesting to see how far this painting (and in some ways myself) has come. The drippy drips on the second layer of paint were expressive of the sadness I was feeling at the time. I quickly covered that up with a solid layer of paint, which could represent some sort of suppression of feelings. The most recent layer, while dark, is very joyful in a lot of ways. Drawing swirls was always a rather cathartic thing for me to do while I was stressed. Here I’ve painted swirls, perhaps expressing more happiness or relief from the former sadness/stress.
This painting is still a work in progress, and I guess I am too. I have ideas for where I want it to go, but I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.