Witnessing Mortality

This aint no winnah !
Yes. It is dying. And it is agonizing in the process. Can you feel the pain? I can hear the painting groan as I am trying to force it to become something. Funeral services for this piece of paper will be quick and succinct. (I hope that isn’t redundant)

For two days you have watched this painting try to be something. I put together an idea in my mind about building luminosity into the painting using multiple glazes of but three colors. The object with luminosity is to attempt to allow the saturation (intensity) of a color glow in the presences of more neutralized tones. What can ruin such a goal is the appearance of strident darks. And, habits can ruin one, too.

Intensity contrast is much more subtle than value contrast. Because we are animals, our eyes always go to the locale of the most value contrast . . . and as painters, we have been trained to use *value contrast,* usually. While I have a clear, idea of my goal in my head about not allowing value contrast to become the basis for this painting attempt, that is precisely what has happened. I allowed habit to take over !! It is now a value contrast painting and I am in too deep to change it. (Don’t look now, Mike, but the neon “duffus” sign in your studio is flashing . . . .over and over!)

So, here are today’s efforts, meager though they may seem. When working with ultra thin veils of color over one another, it takes up precious time . . .lots of it . . . .so, three studio days have elapsed without much of a result. Believe it or not, there are 20 plus hours in this painting. (mind you, other artists would bestow sainthood onto the piece because of the time spent . . .and never throw it out.) I, however, see only that I just became 20 plus hours older. The paper isn’t precious, but the lessons taught are, indeed, precious. During the funeral service, I will mumble some homage to those lessons while I grab for another piece of paper to move on to the next thing. This was only an experiment,

What was the big lesson, you ask? Not having a vision and a plan on paper to begin with. You know what ‘they’ say. Failure to plan is a plan to fail. Next time, I will define my shapes more carefully in sketches and know precisely where my gradations and intensity changes will lie on the paper. That is to say I will KNOW where . . . . .not ‘sort of have an idea’ of where.

Hats off, everyone. Show some respect for the patient, please! This is a terminal case, for sure!

6 thoughts on “Witnessing Mortality”

  1. Since it’s terminal, can you have fun with it now? What would happen if you didn’t try to push resolution? What if you let it reveal it’s direction? Or, what if you started applying texture, or line, or spatter, or…..another layer, or two, or three? Or, acrylic? Or, turned it upside down? OK, I’m sure you’ve thought of all of this and way more. The work just seems interesting and with potential. In any case, thank you for posting this work in progress! I learn from your pain!

  2. Mike, the failures teach us the most! I;m reading “Outliers” a fantastic book on success by the auther of “Blink” and research shows that excellence takes 10,000 hours of practice! Just think how much closer you are to perfection!!

  3. Mike, there are those of us who would love to be as successful as you are when your fail.

    Happy holidays to you and Diane and thanks for this wonderful blog. I check in frequently, and you always teach me something.

    Mary Paquet

  4. Hi Mike,
    It’s your artist friend who used 200 layers. Actually that was approximate – could be more or less than that – depending on the image.
    But the palette I used was actually burnt sienna, viridian and VI0LET (thalo) not Magenta. But I like the earlier stages you achieved with those colors very much. With regard to the “terminal case of this piece,” I hear what you’re saying about the instinctive urge to push further with values rather than color nuance. That being said, some of my veiled WC that you liked also went through the dark, muddy stage you’re now calling terminal. The earlier stages are what I call the pleasing stages. They are the stage of chroma luminosity. Keep pushing (with a plan now) and see what happens in the world of value. Often the darkening stage is just the beginning and you may even need to do a little scrubbing in areas. But color can come back again only at a deeper, richer level.
    I spent a long time on your blog and the amount of work you have produced is astounding. Also, I really cracked up at the youtube “What Art Izzz.” Regarding my blog (which you’ve inspired me to do,) studying yours is very instructive. I hope to begin doing some kind of blogging shortly. I will keep checking in to see what you’re up to and occasionally dialogue on the grapevine.

  5. Peggy, Myrna and Mary . . .thanks to each of you for your encouragement. The painting is still mounted on its board, leaning against a wall where I can see it . . . we never know what sort of notion will come over me. It may take a while, but *something* will show up eventually.

  6. Ken . . .that was some note. If ever there is an example artist to follow, I feel that you embody that example. Thanks for your thoughts and your direction though you may unknowingly give it. Believe me, you are VERY much appreciated! I am so glad to know you!

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