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Monday, June 1, 2015

Old Business: What Was Was

I Gotta Crow, oil, 18" x 24";  2013.  I did glaze the overhang darker
 yesterday while contemplating what more needed doing.  Hair, arms and hands would be enough.

A day full of rain postponed the hunt for ever blooming roses and sent me into the studio where three paintings stood out shouting to be finished. They had been haunting me for months. The thought of what each needed was as exhausting as the garden work I had been doing.  I sidestepped to fussing over Dead To The World with what remained on the palette thinking all three portraits were actually in mid process. They  needed hair--and highlights--and those would get me back into skin tones, hours of scumbling and could I just ignore the clothing? I was overwhelmed. Wouldn't I rather a good game of Scrabble?  I put the palette back in the freezer and headed towards the stairs. that old business would get older.

--Then again, perhaps old business is the norm in painting? Is anything ever really finished?

Setting up the Scrabble set while Ellis filled two goblets with wine:   Each of the portraits were started at different stages of development between 2013 and 2015.   Each was an example of where my skill was then. Seeing them, I Gotta Crow (JD, 2013) was primitive compared to Lolita (Erin, 2014); Lolita, was stiff compared to Done! (Ruby, 2015).  The evolution of a portrait painter was still in progress; Move on. I picked a J, an A, three E's, an F and X;  Ellis should go first.
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 I love starting paintings; I hate finishing them.  Probably fear of failure.--or maybe I just like seeing through the thoughtfully mixed exact right colors down to the not so perfect raw structure? I do love structure. There's a mystery attached to an unfinished painting I find attractive.  They are still in the making, still promising growth, alive, not nailed down  to a wall, dormant. 

Lolita, Fire Of My Loins,  12 x 16", oil; I have toned down and faded out the background
and started to bringing out the highlights in  her hair, I'm pretty satisfied. I never
did need all the i's dotted and the t's crossed.  Painting is not the same as writing.

Done!; oil; 20" x 16"; still life needs work, hair, maybe hand?

Hyper realism  puts me to sleep.  It's too set, too photographic, a wow to the lay public, unsettling to artists who worship brush strokes, the accidental splatter, juicy, colorful life smeared in motion...the sun is out. the laundry is agitating, two ever-blooming rose bushes have  my name on them at the nursery.  Enough of this, let's get on with that. What was, was.


  1. You and me, girl, are kindred spirits! I too love to start and hate to finish. Many a painting has gone out my door with plenty hours of work still to be done......if I had had a mind to. You have no need to go back. Those paintings are gorgeous little gems as they are. Onwards and forward to your goal. I reckon the masterpiece is not too far away!

    1. You are a sweetheart! These really have been haunting me for months--and especially now that JD and Erin are coming to visit in a couple of weeks. I welcome your permission. I am such a task master I wear myself out. I do really like paintings that stop short of everything in its place. They breathe. JD does need hands though and arms and a few swipes of something in his hair. He's the least finished..

  2. Like you I love to start paintings and I hate to finish them... to my eye they never really seem to be finished anyway ! These subjects are all awesome and I remember them well . They do look finished to me but you are the creator know best :-) The little Lolita is my favorite , love that glance !

  3. Great to see them together and see the progress. I also super realistic, I love to see brushstrokes and dots of paint suggesting ....

  4. What an evolution!!! [NOT devolution] I do love that painting of Ruby - you have caught her alive, happily fed, smiling and ready to go on to exciting things.
    I'm not sure why, but I don't like finishing paintings either???