These two I had painted before the start of the abstract workshop, as a way to get into painting again. Little did I know….
This next one happened early on in the workshop. It was an automatic drawing. Mine are usually round and closed loops, so I thought I’d try something else. Hummm, as we say, it’s a good underpainting! We then did an exercise where we painted our workshop environment, under Steve’s directions: paint the floor in front of you; 30seconds later: paint what’s above your head; 30 seconds later: paint what’s to your right, change paint color, etc you get the idea.
So my next one was particularly ugly and disjointed, and I covered it with ‘pretty’ colors. Well, that made for another nice underpainting!!!! I was getting pretty desperate, so I took a drastic step.
Thankfully, the others will not see the light of day, they’ve been exposed enough on my easel for a week. Some have found a new life as pages for my altered books. Yeah!
This one is 48x48, and is a colored representation of a dancing model. Nice starting point for something else.
The biggest learning for me is that a painting doesn’t stop at the first step, when it starts coming together and looks pretty. That’s just a better underpainting. The real work starts when the white paint or the black paint start obliterating the ‘underpainting’ to start another painting, but that still retains the spirit of the first layer. For some of the workshop participants, a final painting will have 10 or 15 layers. My easel partner, the lady with whom I shared the table where we lay all our paints out, would do as many as 25 layers. There were some truly gorgeous paintings, and up she would cover them with a thick layer of pale brown. I took it upon myself to interrupt her concentration and acknowledge the beauty of the layers I loved, otherwise, these layers would never have been acknowledge.
I do admit that her final paintings were stunning, some very disturbing, but it was an incredible work and I have been humbled to watch her process and learn so much: not stop at the first satisfactory step, but let the process unfold, and dig deeper and deeper.
After all, the workshop was called: The Spiritual Language of Art. One really had to dig deep to uncover the gem. Fortunately, we had wonderful organizers, thank you Mary Stewart, and beautiful friend, Donna B,, Jill, Eve, Susan, Jean, you know who you are.
This last one happened on the last day, that was my representation of a beautiful oyster shell we were given. Abstracted, definitely.