Progression paintings for the new 18″x24″ acrylic painting I’ve been working on.
I wanted a bright autumn tree against a dark sky showing signs of winter coming. Here’s the first layer:
The dark clouds in the sky felt way too dark. I tried repeatedly to get it to lighten up. You can see some of the background mountain and trees here too.
You can see the dark clouds lightened up quite a bit here and I’ve added the trunks for the trees I want to be in the mid-ground, Also working on the trees, brush, and ground on the left side of the painting.
I finally decided I had to quit tinkering with the dark background clouds and get to work on my main tree. I’ve put it in and a tree on the left a little closer in the foreground. Built up this grassy knoll on the left side too. I really didn’t know if I liked it or not, but why should the land be flat. I decided to let it be and see what developed with it. The fun is in the exploring, right?
The final painting. I pushed in more weeds around the grassy knoll, which did remain, but I discarded the second tree stump closest to the right side of the canvas. It just didn’t look good, especially when I started the younglings along the left side of the remaining tree.
I love how the road divides this, making it look like fall has taken a deep hold on the right side along with the incoming storm while the right side sees fall coming, but is holding out the last breaths of summer. Hmm, I wonder if that’s a good title for this painting. That, as of right now, hasn’t been decided.
I’m thinking about framing this up, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. It’ll have to wait until I get home from Wizarding Dayz.
Speaking of which, I should probably go continue getting ready for the show. I hope you enjoyed taking a look at the progression of this painting.
After my last show of 2018, my son was helping me pack up the car. He was carrying 2 paintings out when he slipped on a patch of ice. In catching himself, he dropped both paintings. He, fortunately, didn’t hit the cement or hurt himself. But when he reached down to pick the paintings up, he saw that one of the paintings had gone through the other.
“Please be the waterfall,” he thought to himself. “PLEASE be the waterfall!” He knew that of the two, I would be less angry about the waterfall painting getting destroyed rather than the lotus painting.
It was the lotus painting.
He told me when we got home and we were unpacking the important things that couldn’t stay out in the cold and snow,. I could tell he felt badly about it; this wasn’t the first painting he’d put a hole in. I’m sure it won’t be the last. (Okay, the boy has even put a hole in my trailer wall — why he has to break everything, I don’t know!) Yes, actually, I do: he’s a boy. *grin*
The tear in the canvas was a clean 90 degree square. It wasn’t huge. It could have been worse. I figured this would repair fairly easily.
It took more patience than I thought it would.
I took a piece of muslin and some gesso, covering the back side of the canvas around the hole, and pressed it flat. Gesso squeezed up between the tear. I then covered the patch on the back with gesso, making it nice, smooth, and strong.
This is a picture of the gesso coming through the tear to the front.
In retrospect, I should have filled in the whole crack while it was wet. I think it would have been easier to fix the scar if I had. But, I didn’t know. I’ve only repaired one other canvas before so I felt I was still working on bare minimum knowledge in practice. I had learned a lot from that first painting and I knew I’d learn even more with this one. That I should have filled and leveled the whole thing then is valuable information I will take to the next tear should (when) this happen(s) again.
This was my first attempt at covering it up. I started out with some blue, then brought in some white. Like I said, I didn’t have a whole lot of patience and I thought this would be a fairly easy process at this point. As I layered up paint, I saw that I was going to have to do this in layers and it might require some light sanding in between coats.
Here’s what it looked like when I really started filling in the scar.
It seemed like I spent a lot of time alternating blue and white. It took a lot of coats to fill in the scar. Yes, I did some sanding too, very carefully around the edges. I didn’t want to take paint off of the scar where I was trying to fill in, only on the canvas so that it would retain some of the tooth.
I started thinking that I might want some pictures of the canvas that weren’t closeups. So here’s the picture from above as it is on the canvas. It looks big here, but this shot isn’t the whole painting.
Finally I start to get a good fill on the tear. It’s still visible, but just barely.
And here’s what the canvas looks like at this point:
Can you even see it? The second lotus petal from the bottom points right at it. Great, I’ll never lose the tear again now that’ I’ve noticed that!
Still building up layers:
At this point, I’m also bringing more clouds in around the vines at the bottom. They always bugged me with how they seemed to stick out. It looked like a lotus blossom superimposed over clouds, rather that actually being part of the sky. This is me fixing that because at this point, what do I have to lose?
Well, at least as far done as I have pictures for. I did add another couple of touch-ups last weekend while I was painting, a few highlights here and there.
If you look closely at this painting from the side, or get up close to the canvas where the tear it, you can still traces of it. I don’t think it would ever completely go away. Besides, the big white spot on the back is a sign that something catastrophic happened. Overall, I think I did a good job repairing this canvas. It’ll continue going with me to art shows until someone decides that they want it hanging on their wall.
Sometimes, you just have to heal the best you can and move on with your life. You can’t always hide all the scars perfectly.
Last week I wrote about three space paintings I was currently working on. I’ve still been whittling away at them, but I think I finally finished one of them. Maybe. At the moment of this writing, I’m waiting to see how dark the acrylics get after it dries and cures completely.
Let’s have a quick look back at the painting from last week:
Every time the starburst in the center dried, it got darker and darker. I kept having to paint it over and over to brighten the colors. Here’s the next layer:
At this point in the painting, I was really thinking about painting this over and starting anew. I liked some of it, but it was no where near what I had in my mind. Yet, I likes the gaseous clouds, so I thought I’d keep working. What could it hurt, right?
Note how much the centered darkened after drying here on this next picture compared to the last. It might not seem like a lot, but it was. In fact, this might actually have had another yellow layer put over it before I took the picture. Anyway, this was the first star layer.
Several years ago, I went to the park and sat alone in my car. My boys were off visiting their father. I was lonely and couldn’t stay at the quiet house any more. So I sat at the park and watched the clouds drift by. And cried. Okay, I’m going to admit it now, I cried. Hard. Long and hard.
Something encouraged me to open my eyes and look toward the sky. I did, and there was this cloud floating along that looked like this twisted genie lamp. I grabbed my sketchbook and drew it out. Then I did another, and another. I went home and continued drawing these all weekend long. It’s not like I was filling pages, but whenever I felt the mood to let my hands draw some elegant curves.
Last week I showed the progression painting of the landscape I did which I mentioned I had started out on a canvas which I’d originally airbrushed on. Fortunately, I remembered to take progression pictures as I started this one. Here’s the actual canvas before I started painting:
Yeah, it’s not pretty. After sitting, probably for a year or more, it had gotten dirty, dusty, and scratched. I’ve cleaned it off pretty thoroughly before taking this picture. In fact, from the looks of the wavy lines on it, there might even be another coat of white acrylic