About a week ago, I thought I was getting pretty close to being finished these paintings. I started these on March 13 and frankly, I am ready to start something new. All four were brought pretty much to the state of the one below. This is about 4 passes on each, with each pass adding more detail. At this point, I guess I have about 20-30 hours of work in each panel.
I was sort of happy with how things were going, despite the really slow progress. But only sort of. Something about them was just not working for me. The left third of the panel just bothered me. I spent the better part of a whole day just looking at it knowing I had to do something, resisting that fact that I had to do something (BUT I’M ALMOST FINISHED!) And then this happened.
It was pretty scary making those first few strokes on a painting I was considering “almost done”. (There’s no “undo” button!) However, after five minutes of making changes, I knew this was what the panels needed. The “movement factor” was where it needed to be. The prominence now forms a loop which connects it back to the surface, which is a common behaviour and something that seemed to be needed in this work. Standing back looking at the change, I was really happy, even though I was thinking, “well, you’ll have to do that 3 more times”. But that’s not too bad right? It’s just 1/3 of the panel (and really just the non-black bits). That’s not too bad. Not too bad.
But while standing back looking at the left 1/3 of the panel, really pleased with how it’s looking, I’m realizing that the other 2/3 of the panel is now not working. What had seemed like good movement, now seemed flat and static. And just wrong. So as of last weekend, I’m now going over the entire panel, adding more detail. By reducing the size of the features, I’m also more accurately reflecting the actual surface of the sun. Not that accuracy is my goal, but it should “feel right”.
Below is about 6 hours of additional detail work on the main body as well as refining the prominence. Probably have another 15-20 before it’s done. (and then I can start on the other 3 panels. Yay!)
Again, I know this is the right thing to do, but wow, is it hard (I WAS ALMOST FINISHED!)
Side Note: Aside from the conceptual challenges I’ve been having, I am truly challenged by this yellow panel in particular. Working with only 7 colours (3 yellow, 2 brown, black and white), it’s difficult to get the look I want, especially when the yellow really wants to go green when mixed with blacks. Lamp black is unusable and while ivory black is better, it still wants to push the yellows to green. Combine that with the relative transparency of the yellows and it’s been a huge learning “opportunity”.