Early Stages – I try not to think too hard in the early stages. The goal is to just “do”, and really, anything will “do”. However, I was thinking about mixing a lot of opaque grays and tried to keep them light (in value). They came out a little darker than expected. The early stages can be several layers of paint applied to the surface.
Here is a closeup/detail of some deep scratches in the surface of the board.
Middle Stages – Putting in the dark black curve (lower right) and sanding down a large upper layer of opaque white did a few things that helped this painting move along in the right direction: the lights and darks were now pretty visible and straightforward. A lot happens during the middle stages, i.e., paint is applied, dried, sanded, scraped, reapplied, dried, sanded, scraped, yup, this goes on for a while.
Last Stages – Within the light areas and the dark areas it’s nice when there’s something interesting to look at that is different and varied, but not too contrasted as to take away from the overall value pattern. It is always a question of nuances vs. direct hits that are more aggressive.
I took this photo right before the some final (small) adjustments. For me, this kind of painting process is like soul searching from beginning to end. I find this method of working encourages me to look deep within the subconscious for that right color, shape, texture, value, etc. It is a one way conversation until I can somehow engage the painting in conversation. I can’t explain when or why this happens but I do know that it will happen at some point IF I keep at it. Momentum begins when it isn’t just me “doing” the talking and I begin to hear a small voice suggest and assist as the painting moves along. Once this match is lit, the flame must be fanned to keep things moving along (no time for coffee breaks now!). I work as long as there is a two-way conversation, which is sometimes loud and active, and sometimes quiet. When the voices dim and some sense of order and peace are obtained, the painting and I are at peace, and I leave the painting alone. It is finished until, or if, one of us starts talking again