Do your paintings talk to you?

This is the bridge that connects the small town of Bayville with the main body of Long Island. I thought I was done with this painting. I took it out to photograph it. Cleaned up the photo. I posted it here amongst the other bridges I have been enamored with, but I didn’t take it off it’s board. I didn’t remove the tape. The half size piece of watercolor paper was moved from room to room. Sometimes it laid in a place where I didn’t really see it, and sometimes it leaned up against a window, where I couldn’t miss it. Finally it migrated down to the studio. Did I take it off the board there? Nope. I moved it from place to place there as well. It was large and I really wanted to be done with it. But, it was having none of that. It wasn’t going anywhere because in spite of my beliefs, the painting was not finished. Moving it around was telling me that, but I was trying so hard to ignore it. I liked it. It was done. How many times had I messed up a painting by over working it. That painting and I were having a little dance. I would say time to put you away, and it was saying, no no no.

A First Impression

Did you ever have a painting like that? Like Chucky the movie doll that keeps reappearing and won’t shut up? Well, I finally gave in. Here’s where I started…

This is my first reaction to the bridge. I like the orange hue that disappeared in the end, and I really liked the super simplified water which maybe should have been left. This however, was just the beginning of the painting’s complaint. After laying around for sometime, we tried again, darkening the water, brightening the tower and just pushing it about a little to get this:

Oh what a mess I made. I thought I was onto something, but it was just loosing it’s simplification and it’s spontaneity. The textured water and the reflections weren’t helping and I still had that uneasy feeling that something was missing. So the painting continued to nudge at me.

Second and Last try

One night, I started to take the tape off and the painting to scream! I looked around and knew I was the only one that heard it so I backed off on the tape. I took a new look, wet my paints, darkened and evened out the water a bit, toned down the purple shadows but extended their darkness, added a sky and sat back and looked. Suddenly I saw it. The sky had definitely helped but somehow I had inadvertently missed adding in the lamp posts, and once I did, the painting shut the hell up. It was happier.

Do You Still the Voices?

I am wondering if you have had this experience too. It is a struggle to know when to stop. When to step away and put down the brush and when to keep going. Generally when I start to think that, I know I better do it that minute. But, sometimes I don’t hear the voice until it is too late.

In the End We All Win!

Somehow in the end, the painting came together more. The darker water helped to ground it and the lamp posts broke up the composition so that it wasn’t so split in half. I am content with it, and the painting, well, it hasn’t said a word.

1 thought on “Do your paintings talk to you?”

  1. It doesn’t just happen with paintings. I have had quilts that I couldn’t finish because they just were not right. There is one in particular that comes to mind. The fabrics all looked good together, so I made the blocks and laid them out on the design wall. I would walk by it and say, no it’s not right. Finally I took all the blocks and put them away. Slowly, each set became the perfect finish to a different quilt. They must be in 6 different quilts.

    I loved your adventure with the bridge. I may not be a painter but I can relate as an artist with fabric.


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