Image 1. Back in November 2014, I started working in encaustic on a larger scale. This painting is 36x36in, and as I had just renovated my encaustic studio, it is the first painting I did in my new space. Was this a finished piece? There were a few marks I liked and a smooth surface; it felt "ok", even "pretty nice", but only for a while. It sat in my studio for several months since I liked some areas, but I really didn't know where to go to improve it. It had to incubate a while.
Image 2. By February, 2015, enough time had passed where I finally felt the courage and motivation to just throw down some serious darks and just go for it. I had recently attended a workshop with Nicholas Wilton, and it was just what I needed. I will write more about that wonderful workshop experience in my next newsletter, but suffice it to say, I realized how unhappy I was with the painting I had done in November and decided to continue working on this mediocre painting with the hope of achieving something better. It was worth the risk of losing everything to pursue something better than "good".
Image 3. It took many hours (20? 30?) to go from Image 1 (above) to this stage. Although I tried to convince myself that maybe this stage was okay, deep down I knew it wasn't; it was soon to go back to the chopping block. However, it was a few days of mourning before I was ready to go back into it after putting so many (late, grueling, cold) hours into the development of the painting from all the stages which occurred between Image 1 and 3. At this point, I was as unhappy as I was with Image 1. Clearly, this painting was not done yet.
Image 4. By now, after several days had passed, I decided to do a few mockups on the computer (photoshop), experimenting with opacity and divisions of space. I decided I wanted to have a light area and a dark area, so I went in and created the division of space, concealing much of the chaos that existed in Image 3.
I made a few subtle changes after recently posting this on Facebook, but at least for now, I think it's finished because I can live with it, and I'm (currently) at peace with it. Although it is always a little hard to know when something is truly finished, all I know is that there is nothing that really bothers me, a lot that I like, lots of surprises, and it holds my attention. I'm looking forward to the next painting, the next journey, and though I have no idea where it will lead me, I expect a lot of surprises and challenges along the way. Journey, 36x36in, encaustic on Baltic Birch Panel, 36x36in, 2015
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