Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Monday, December 30, 2013

Rolling Dreams

Rolling Dreams, 24 x 24 inches, oil on linen

I'm not sure if I posted this one earlier. May be I did. May be it was just Facebook. Oh, speaking of Facebook, if you're not already my friend on Facebook, please send me a friend request. I'd love to be connected to you readers who actually take the time to read my ramblings - and I do post more on FB than I do here, if only to be timely with what's going on in my art world. I'm also extending this invitation now, because I'm going to max out on friends (FB only allows a limited number) soon, and I'd rather be friends with you guys than random people who may or may not actually be interested in my artwork. 

Here are the links to my two Facebook pages:


This painting was done almost a year ago, I think. It's a larger version of a motif I previously painted. I've done many roller coaster paintings in the last several years, and most of them share the same moody evening light as this one.

I love the pattern of light and shadow that the complex mesh of supports make on itself. I took cues from a photo reference but it was way too complex and detailed for me to be literal. So the shadows are more or less made up. I didn't need it to be accurate, just convincing enough to suggest sunlight. 

The trickiest part of it was the gentle transition of light to dark as we travel downwards. It needed a gradation, and at the same time suggest cast shadows. Not easy to do if you're painting post by post, stick by stick. I ended up relying heavily on glazing; I would paint the light and shadow pattern more or less without much subtlety, let dry, and come back with transparent glazes over a large area to make the  gradation happen.

Then I would go back in and try to refine it, painting both positive and negative shapes. Then I would repeat the glazing. After a few times, it got too dark overall, so I'd have to come back with lighter opaque colors to redefine those areas which needed redefining.

It was a process of repeating going too far and pulling back. losing shapes and finding them. It seems like a very inefficient way to paint, but the truth is all this process stuff contributes to a very rich, mysterious and textural surface that you can't get any other way. You're leaving the footsteps of a journey for the viewer to experience, for the them to be aware that this is not about the end product, but of how I got there. 

And I also like to see signs of struggle in a painting. It tells a story independent of the narrative of the motif, and to an artist, that is sometimes far more interesting to see than the finished product. I want my painting to give up its secrets for those who're willing to investigate.


  1. Give us a link toour FB page then?

  2. This is a wonderful painting. I love the geometry of it, the mood, the colors, and the transition you talk about. The inclusion of the people tells a story, perhaps of a long day of joyful riding.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Oh, that would be good, wouldn't it Loma~ Haha thanks for the reminder.




  4. Thanks Dan~! and Happy New Year to you too!