“Cottonwood Homestead
posted in July

“Cottonwood Homestead” Improved
oil on cavas, 16″ x 20″

Have you ever done a painting, accepted it as done and went back a few weeks later to see it had **changed** ?

What are these mysterious gremlins at work on our paintings? Somehow, they manage to modify shapes, change the colors, put strokes in the paintings that I KNOW I never did. How does this happen.

Maybe I should pose these questions another way. Why was I so bloody blind when I was painting it? That is the real question!!

I have several paintings leaning against my easel which MUST be revised. I can see now what I could not see when I was painting them. It must be the incubation process. That is to say, like hens eggs, they must incubate quietly under warm conditions, then they hatch. Paintings have a similar character. We don’t really get to see them in the state they will be living until they have “incubated.” . . . . . .Or, been out of our vision for a period of time. . . . . How Long? . . . . . . . . Maybe as long as a year or more. Most times, though, it is usually a few weeks. Then I see the errors in color, shape, value, texture and direction. You can see in this painting of the poplars that it was rather blah. The sky was too yellow, the trees washed out, there wasn’t enough contrast of value, the color of the trees was wrong and they were leaning to the left. The more I looked at the painting, the more I itched to fix it.

So, here are the results, such as they are. I am much happier with the piece, but my mind’s vision is still a distance away from the outcome (that never changes, incidentally). As artists who are constantly looking for improvement in our work, I think our minds grow much faster than we realize. Perhaps that is why we can see the faults in our work in a matter of a few weeks.

Personally, I am very thankful for the constant change in my mental perspective. Incubation affords me to see the errors of my skills then consciously make improvements. How else does an artist grow?

5 thoughts on “INCUBATION”

  1. Excellent Mike! I know what you mean about “incubation” time…This painting has certainly “hatched” into a beautiful, dancing, orchestration of color!

    Glad you did a few more of the watercolor boats as well! What a great trio!

    Your on a roll man!

  2. Thanks Rob and you too, Holly! I am up to my ears right now with open studio preps and have several more paintings to ‘modify’ . . .will see how they come out . . .if I can find time to get to them.

  3. Hi Robin . . .Thanks for coming by and putting in your comments. They are always welcome.

    Yes, open studio is indeed a worthy enterprise for me. It has always been my biggest show of every year. This year, there will be over 100 framed pieces presented. It is a TON of work!

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