Thursday, February 6, 2014

Did Not Go as Planned

When you make art, it's common for the thing to miss that left turn at Albuquerque -- and take you somewhere you didn't know you were going.

Sometimes, that's a disaster. Sometimes it's not. It's what happened here ...

Kings of the Goldenrod City, set of three oil paintings on canvas, each 20 x 20"
First of all, these were supposed to be abstract, and they were supposed to be a continuation of my Cracked Concrete series, and there were supposed to be four of them.

If you look closely, you'll see the cracked concrete pattern in the lower parts, peeking through. It also gave me the basic division of space that I used between the lighter "ground" and the red "sky" areas. But once I got those lines and divisions in place, it all just stalled. Totally. These canvases sulked on the wall of my studio for something like six months, and might be there still if I hadn't had a DEADLINE OMG DEADLINE looming.

The first thing I did was recognize that the red paint I had already applied -- which up until then was a diseased patchwork of blotches -- had been a real mistake. I decided, if I was going to make a mistake, I ought to make a BIG MISTAKE, and I put a ton more red in.

Those odd, gourd-like "houses" are based on dry goldenrod stems I'd collected a while back. Something makes homes in these things while they grow, and then drills out, leaving neat little doors behind in the fall. I loved them, but the paintings needed something alive and in motion, and then I was playing around online and found a documentary about crows. I paused it repeatedly, took screen shots, and off I went.

By then I was running out of time, so I pulled the fourth canvas, the one I had the least idea what to do with. It'll reappear soon enough, not as part of this set but as its own thing. Not what I'd planned, but what happens.


  1. Oh, this is very cool, and interesting. Definitely one for your 'elegant yet whimsical' line.

  2. Thanks, Suzanne! I saw the most amazing flock of crows the other day, so many that they blanketed a couple city blocks, and I'm itching to make more paintings.