As I said, I had a very good crit session on Friday. The comments from Terry, Mary, and Gerrie were astute, I felt I knew what needed done to the painting, and for once I was certain I could deal with the questionable areas.
Here is the original as my fellow critics saw it:
It even (now) has a name: Alizarin Palisades, 18 x 24″, oil on hardboard. This version was painted about two weeks ago.
Even with abstracts, I like a sense of space and movement. So one comment, from Mary, made me think about pushing the central dark patch further back by lightening the paint around it. There were also concerns about the yellow bits and some of the pinkish whites. So, OK, I could deal with all those bits and make a better painting. I thought I could also enhance the sense of the black patches as “trails” leading to the center.
Well, pride goeth before we fall into our paint pots, and I certainly mucked up what was there without improving upon it. I was using a particular tool that requires the paint to have a thick consistency — both the paint on the canvas and the paint on the tool should be a bit tacky. But I forgot that part of the process and so ended up with blobs and blips. And the more I tried to fix, the worse it became. It ultimately was too mucked-up to allow revision. I set it down for a while while I worked on a couple of other abstracts. And then, I returned to it, realizing that I couldn’t fix it — I had to stop trying to renovate and work it anew. This piece required a large-scale overhaul.
So here is the painting as it looks now. I may turn it in another direction (or 3). The direction I liked best evoked a Christian cross, which was definitely not in my Palisades concept, so I had to make the top the bottom and vice-versa. Or maybe, eventually, it will go on its side.
The blue blobs originated in conjunction with another abstract, of the John Day country, that I worked on after I set the ruined one aside. I suddenly realized that this blue color is a part of many of those palisade like forms — the two geological creations alternate as they cascade down palisade-like forms in the John Day Fossil Beds. And that they would lighten a piece that was awfully dark, even in its better configuration.
I have another day or two to muck about with this before my painting critique group on Tuesday. Looking at it on the web, I see the blues seem a bit plopped onto the surface, so I will probably try to integrate them a bit more. And maybe I can delete the inadvertent Christian referent. I think I may add back in more crimson, although it may be that the photo is lighter than the actual piece.
I think I will walk this path with a great deal more humility in the future. Just because I see and understand doesn’t mean I can do what needs to be done! —June