Working Process

“Can You Believe It?”

watercolor on treated paper, 14″ x 17.5″
Design is an elusive subject. First, there is the issue of “like” and “don’t like.” I happen to think there needs to be a different set of words; “works” and “doesn’t work” is probably more appropriate. It removes taste from of the notion of design.
When building a painting . . .and it is a process of constructing . . .parts have to be built upon one another. Also, trials and errors have to occur because the process of design is occurring at the same time the actual constructing is happening. I happen to depend, largely, on two major tools in my processes. Those are sketching first and developing a series of paintings. In my experience, the best stuff comes out after the blunders have been processed in ‘not so hot’ paintings.
This “November Challenge,” on which I have been working, has been no exception. All sorts of considerations appeared after the first painting . . . .and the second. The end result was an intimate view of a conversation between two women, where we can nearly sense the exclamation in the words and the dubious feeling of the listener by looking at the painting. No commentary necessary. I had to modify the tilt of the head of the listener, imply facial features without being descriptive, have the speaker press the listener a bit more through her posture and position in the picture plane . . . . and set out a design that offerred visual entertainment on a number of other levels. Those levels range from color balance, abstract pattern, textural surface implications, value structure and a host of other things to make this idea work well.
Again, I put it on treated Arches watercolor paper with matte medium. This affords a paint manipulation possibility that is otherwise unavailable with regular paper. This project is now finished. It has certainly shown me that the development process is an intense and tedious process to arrive at what I would call an excellent painting . . . .I am not sure I have spent enough time on this to attain that, but must move on to other things. It has made me dig and think much more deeply than ususal. And that is a good thing!

3 thoughts on “Working Process”

  1. Mike,
    Thanks for the comments and explanation. This latest version is more pleasing for me, because the lady on the left is “friendlier”: You gave her a faint smile! Also, the hand of the lady on the right is somehow more graceful.
    As for the texture, you made big-time changes there, which I don’t yet appreciate. For me, the texture in the earlier version were more visible, but possibly detracting from the painting’s subject; as such, maybe that’s why you made the modifications?

  2. Amazing transformation from the initial thumbnails. working this way makes it possible to narrow the subject down to it’s essence. The car is gone and you just have the conversation going on. An exchange between two people. Much of the process you described is a mystery to me. Very sophisticated stuff.

  3. thx for coming by my site mike. i like the texturing you did here on this piece. the color scheme is harmonized and creates a feeling of warmth and familiarity. full of impact.

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