"I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort and disappointment and perseverance."
- Vincent Van Gogh
Maybe simple is the right idea, but perhaps it's not so "easy". Simplicity is exactly what I'm going for. Colors are placed onto a grid to perform their interaction of color, their visual dance, and lead the eye to follow rhythms and pauses within the composition, allowing the viewer ultimately to go deeper within the artwork.
When I begin a new painting I think a great deal of how I want the painting to feel, and how to go about making that happen. Following that, I choose a color palette that complements the concept that I am about to explore.
In all my work I plan out a simple roadmap that often takes a diversion, leaving room for spontaneity and some color adjustments.
Next, I draw a grid of the composition (the plan) with a pencil and a straight edge onto the canvas. I write some color "notes" onto the canvas with a pastel pencil. The notes are a guide for possible colors I could use; they help me to progress into a direction for the feeling that I want to convey.
I use masking tape to mask the edges of the color blocks, mix each color block separately and apply the oil paint with my painting knife. It is very meticulous. For some reason I love this aspect of it. After painting 3 - 4 color blocks, I pull up the tape.
The paint must be bone dry before taking the next step, taping over an already painted edge in preparation to paint a new adjacent color block. Note that in the above photo the tape is pressed onto some of the dry, previously painted color blocks. You may also see some of my "notes" written on the canvas.
In this photo I am pulling up the tape, and all is going as it should be. On some occasions I have moved ahead with the painting too quickly because it felt dry to the touch. This causes some of the previous painted color to pull up off the painting with the tape, causing me to experience that sick feeling in my gut. After this happens, I need to repaint the previous color block which requires more drying time, meaning I have to wait an extra week or more to proceed with this area of the painting. It is more than frustrating, believe you me. I see that the painting is teaching me that it wants more time. It wants me to be more patient.
I find the thrill of pulling up the tape to reveal the beguiling interaction of color is worth every tedious step. When it's right it is ultra satisfying.
Luminous Color Explorations