While contemplating yesterday’s work I am beginning to find little things that excite me on this painting I am in the middle of creating. It seems like weirdly painted faces with droopy eyes and mouths full of teeth with cracked lips make me smile. Several paintings like that placed next to each other make my mind wonder into some exciting places.
For example, yesterday I painted a portrait of a blue boy and his pet fish behind him. (I need to add to the description/name, “blue boy with a pink (or violet) beret.”) I kept thinking, this is a portrait of somebody I know. (I probably should call the painting “Richard – the blue boy with a violet beret with his pet fish behind him” or something like that.) The painting is not done yet, but I have a feeling that I should stay away from the picture of the boy which, I believe, is already done. I need to stay away from it the way I did from The Blue Angst until I looked at the painting with fresh eyes.
The other day our neighbors came by to sell some chocolate and we gave them a tour of the house. We finished in my room and I started showing my paintings to the ten years old neighbor’s daughter. She enjoyed looking at the finished canvases, but there was one comment she made about my paintings being creepy. I realized that this is exactly what my paintings are, creepy with some unexpected giggle.
I am leaning towards the work on smaller canvases at the moment. I am not sure why. It could be that it is easier for me to manage a smaller surface while filling it up with characters. But my approach to large canvases is somewhat similar. The only difference between small and large canvases is in the time spent on finishing them. A large painting, you would think, takes longer to complete, but this is quite opposite right now. I spend more time on my small canvases detailing them. On large ones I use broader strokes and it “feels” that I finish them faster. But again, the detailing happens there too, so really there is not much of a difference when it comes to working on any size.
When it comes to defining clearer my “style,” I am still looking for my pony to ride. Not sure when I am going back to my oils, but the time is approaching. My acrylics are disappearing little by little from my supply box. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have enough colors nor paint to cover my canvases.
Just now I caught a great shadow on “The Blue Boy with the Violet Beret” and started thinking if I should create this effect permanently on the canvas by painting the light on the character’s face the way it is falling on it right now. Of course the easiest way would be just putting a light and directing it in a certain way that it would create this effect. But I wonder what I would need to do if I to create these permanent shadows. Of course the manipulation of colors and their shades would do the task of creating this effect.
In a way I am already doing something similar with my previous painting The Pilot. It is one of those paintings that went through many stages. I could just have stopped at any of them and be fine with the work, but, I should say, I am very glad I didn’t, because the ending result is what needed to happen. The painting has just enough of weirdness and it is very rich in imagery.
The character of the pilot is not visible right away. There are other characters you need to “read through” if you want to get the whole image and story of the painting. These other characters are preventing your eyes from the direct, simplified image of the main portrait. You need to go through a puzzle creating some connections between characters which later give you the image of the pilot.
You already know how I like to look for connections and solve creative puzzles. I believe this vision got amplified after my mushroom experiences. There is way much more behind the flat world we see every day. Sometimes I find myself dealing with my lines as connectors of a larger and more intricate puzzle, revealing something that hides behind them. I do love this game.
I have been in situations when my exes accused me of complicating things because of “what does this or that mean?” questions. Now I know that exactly this questioning is my strength. I can find connections in places or between things which people usually dismiss or would not pay attention to. I like taking two, sometimes very opposite, objects and look for meaningful links between them.
That is pretty much how I create my paintings. An initial idea or impulse gives me a start on a canvas, then I am led by lines and colors I find engaging until the final result “reveals itself.” That is why sometimes it is hard for me to make certain decisions because one decision usually means that by giving a more vivid picture, by highlighting something, I have to dismiss some of the bonds between lines, colors, characters and stories which are more subtle.
Originally written on 01-26-18