Thursday, March 5, 2015

The End of the Evening - still life

End of the Evening   Oil on 12" x 12" linen panel

Sometimes paintings seem to flow almost effortlessly, but far more often, they have to be pushed and pulled into being.  This is one of the latter.  Right from the start it was a struggle: from the setup to the block-in to the massing and color notes, I fought with it every step of the way.  In fact, I feel that the one thing I did right during the whole battle was not to give up.  I'm very aware that one of the most common mistakes that an artist can make is to quit on a painting too soon.  The temptation to wipe it down, scrape it off or just plain toss in in the failure pile can be very strong.  And while there are times when that is definitely the right thing to do, it's important not to give in to the temptation without a fight.

Midway through this painting, I felt completely lost.  I knew that along the way, I had skipped right over many of the lessons I have spent so much time and energy learning, and now I was starting at the resulting mess.  But I did remember one piece of advice I learned from Dan Edmondson: when you've completely lost a painting, do this: pick ONE piece of the painting and concentrate entirely on it.  Forget the rest.  Don't let the totality overwhelm you and confuse you.  Pick one thing and bring it out of the chaos using the techniques you know...paint application, color and value and modeling.  When you have that piece "recovered", move on to the next piece of the painting and repeat.  Eventually, the painting will come back under control and suddenly it isn't so crazy anymore.

And that's the story behind "End of the Evening."  Now if I can just remember it next time!
(Thanks Dan!)

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art