Above is a new painting that I completed last weekend. I hang new works on my wall outside my home office where I can encounter them during the week, to see how much I like them. That’s how I decide if a painting is done or whether it needs more work. And I finally decided this one is complete, and that, for now, I like it a lot.
As you can see, it is composed of many layers. That is part of my creative process. I start with some tiny idea and then begin applying paint to see where it takes me. If I see something I like, I start to build on that and then branch out from there.
So this new painting, which I call Three Red Figures, emerged from that process. I started with a big canvas – in this case four feet by three feet – and laid on a base layer of white and some black.
Then I began to lay in some blocks of color. I usually work with primary colors. I want my paintings to be bright and bold and exciting, and primary colors do that.
Then I hung it outside my office for a while and decided it needed more. So I took it back downstairs and began to work on top of that, eventually hitting on the long horizontal strokes that became the real basis for the painting.
Then I added some yellow and red splashes. And then three central red figures. And finally some white wash over that, followed by some other washes of color.
For me, the beauty of it all – the fun of it – is NOT to have a real thought process behind it all. (Hence the “abstract” in abstract painting.) It is about letting go, and being free. It is about not having linear thoughts. As I’ve indicated, my real training and profession is as a journalist and writer. And all day, I am mostly consumed with putting one concrete idea in front of another, and applying those ideas to a different sort of canvas (a computer screen, mostly).
So what I like about painting is to abandon all of that linear thinking and just see what happens on the canvas. To open some tubes or cans of paint and just to start what I call “throwing paint” on a canvas. (This is not necessarily literally throwing, although sometimes that does happen.) And to see where the journey goes.