Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Couple of WIPs

Hey art people!  Today I'm posting a couple of works in progress.

These are larger pieces that take much longer to complete. I haven't been doing the smaller, quicker paintings lately so I haven't had much to post. But if I waited till I finished these babies I might not post anything for months (I have no idea how long they'll take) so here are shots of the works in progress.

The top one is a larger, more abstract version of the Archangel Michael painting I did last year. I have been wanting to blow it up and really go to town with more expression and surface work. This version is 40 x 30, and I really like it. I think it could even be larger, too.

This is after two days of painting. It may look near finished here, but I think that has to do with the fact that photography unifies the image. In person, the various areas are fragmented and most of the strokes look superficial and not integrated enough, so that's what I'm working on.

The original sculpture is by 18th century flemish sculptor / architect, Peter von Verschaffelt. If this painting turns out good, it's because good ol' Pete was a genius and he did the hard part.

This one is 36 x 48, and this is shot after my third session with the painting. This too has had an earlier, smaller version, which was just a single building on a light ground, like the left half of the painting.

When I was working on the earlier version, the background flip flopped between light and dark several times and I wished I could have both versions, side by side so I can see them together. So that's how the idea for this one came about. 

The first two days were spent just blocking in with simple values (light for lit side, medium for shadow side, and dark for the windows) and looked like an oversimplified color-by-numbers painting. After I let that dry for a few days, I went in with a more expressive brush and "messed up" the surface with drippy paint, dipping into Liquin and Gamsol to vary the consistency - not a controlled variation in viscosity by any means - more of an intuitive, arbitrary process to help me get out of the representational frame of mind.

Both paintings only use White, Black, Transparent Oxide Red (reddish brown) and Yellow Ochre. If you'll notice, that's a low-chroma primaries palette. I'm not trying to depict  natural light and color, So the color choices are not based on that criteria. In fact, I want to take color out of the equation for the most part because it's not part of my concept. Natural color would add a huge emphasis toward representation, and I want to go the opposite way. It doesn't make sense for me to try to have it both ways. I've tried that many, many times and have had to accept the conclusion that trying to have it both ways only dilutes the concept and consequently, the impact. 

That's just my conclusion, and other artists may disagree, but hey, I can only work with my conclusions  and not someone else's, so there you have it.


  1. Wonderful to see these, Terry, and read your description of your goals and processes. Very impressive indeed! It's so interesting to me to read the struggles many artists have in trying to shrug off the "realistic" direction in favor of a more organic response to a subject. I appreciate your blog so much!

  2. Thanks Carol! I like the phrase you use; "a more organic response to a subject" very apt.

  3. That Archangel Michael is incredible - even though you claim it's not finished. It is transcendent!