Last time I posted a photo of a recent painting, “Map of the Elusive Waterway,” and it generated a couple of questions about my technique.
Did I have a plan when I started a painting? Did I just throw the paint on and see what happened?
I think any abstract artist might be asked similar questions. Anyone who thinks Jackson Pollock’s drip or action paintings are entirely random and could be painted by a five-year-old must have the idea that there was no thought behind the finished work at all. (Please don’t think that my mention of Jackson Pollock is in any way a comparison of my work with the master. I have miles to go…miles and miles!)
Yes, abstract painting has a different “feel” than realistic work in which the subject is readily and clearly identified. But most abstract painting includes thought along with emotion. The answers to the two questions I was asked are Yes, I have a loose idea of what I want to create when I start a painting and No, I don’t just throw the paint on and see what happens.
Like other artists I consider design and space along with color theory, matching how the painting feels as it evolves with what I know about the basics of painting. I also work in layers – layer upon layer – for the end result.
Because a single photo can never show the depth or detail of what’s on the canvas, I’m including here the original photo of “Map of the Elusive Waterway” along with a few close-ups of various sections of the painting to give a better idea of the texture and layers.
It’s all in a day’s work. Or in the case of this painting – several days’ work. I paint with acrylics which dry quickly – both a blessing and a curse – but even though the paint dries quickly, it still takes me several days to complete any one painting.