Paintings in Progress

A few weeks ago I decided (again) to paint over some older pieces that at re-looking seem unfinished and/or not in a direction I'm currently following. A big part of it is also letting go of some preciousness that I often ascribe to past (and current) work. It is something I am constantly battling but getting better at. Not just in assessing old work, but more importantly in the process of painting. To be daring and run that red stripe over your favorite part of the piece and in the end make everything look completely different from where it started. Most of the time, it is better you made that decision but sometimes the process of finding what works seems to go on forever, until it is time to just paint over it. For me, the decision making process can take a lot of time if I'm feeling particularly thoughtful or insecure but sometimes it is just natural and easy. These last few weeks I've been feeling the former (hence this posting) most likely due to a break from regular painting for a few months.

Two of the five paintings I overpainted. I did these in 2006 and were my favorite from the bunch. The paint is pretty thin and although I liked the shapes and the cleanliness of the line seemed premature at another look.

Two of the five paintings I overpainted. I did these in 2006 and were my favorite from the bunch. The paint is pretty thin and although I liked the shapes and the cleanliness of the line seemed premature at another look.

New smaller pieces in various stages:

Before beginning these smaller pieces, I started my last 30"x30" canvas I purchased back in March. I didn't have any clear ideas of how it was going to be except that I wanted to start with green. I actually started it with a semi realistic image of ivy which seemed to represent the green density I had in my head.

I didn't like how controlled I needed to be to paint the ivy and it sat for a long while about like this. Finally, I resigned the fact I wasn't going to do ivy and started tentatively painting over the leaves and gradually got bolder.

After a turn and more color it is looking like a completely different painting. It is at this stage that the composition becomes more defined and I start to get more careful and controlled. I stopped working on the smaller pieces today because I felt I was getting too tight and on the edge of overworking. And now this larger piece I feel is verging on the same. So I'm letting these sit awhile so I have more time to look and ponder and come up with my next move.

-JB