When I first started bringing out my old paintings a month ago, after about a two year hiatus, it was all very fun and liberating. I was able to see completed and half finished pieces with new eyes. Often seeing them in a much better light than I remember leaving them. But after living with them again, having them all out in the same room, making small changes here and there, I find myself confronted with the same recurring issues as when I left them a few years ago. The #arteveryday2013 project is helping me work through some of this, because these pieces are quick, and can be a totally different style or subject matter. I think this is why I started painting on t-shirts in 2008; it was a great distraction that seemed so simple and was finished so quickly. It certainly has given me more insight into the types of artwork better suited for textiles and clothing, but unfortunately has not helped me work through the challenges of a painting 3 or 4 layers deep.
So what are the challenges? I have spent much more time drawing than painting. And my drawings, even when approaching a still life or scene with depth and shadow, always had a strong line element. Also, these pieces were always one color. My knowledge of color comes from a print-making background - so uniform blocks of color applied in layers (one color at a time). My paintings, likewise, have always had a strong line/shape element that are defined by different colors. I used to begin my paintings with a line drawing, then start to fill in the shapes with different colors often times in an ordered way.
I guess there is nothing wrong with this, and as a small collection of work may be great, but painting in this style indefinitely can get rather boring and seems too simple for a self respecting painter. I don't often create a series that are done in a very similar style, at the most two pieces, but I have often began in a similar way, using different color combinations or "rules" to my ordered process.
There may be a future in this, but at the time I stopped painting to focus on the clothing, I was becoming increasingly tired of my shapes and techniques, and also of the lack of interest from the outside world. Perhaps I rely on this too much to guide my art direction. And though I've made a commitment to focus on art again, there are so many directions where one can take it, or rather, what the art can be used for. It seems as though the general public rarely buys original art anymore, but I want to continue as if they will.
My current strategy is 1) paint over old pieces in a
completely different style 2) Maintain an underpainting's
structure but really work to bring out a true focal point and more
depth. 3) Continue to draw and paint real objects/things to work on my sense color, shadow, shape, and movement
Overpainting: far left is one I did around 2009, far right is most recent