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.
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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.