STUDIO: A New Painting in Progress, Part 2

At Work on “The War You Will Always Have With You”

For me, making a painting is a process of continual adjustments.

Define and revise big areas before focusing on details-the finer the detail, the later in the painting it will occur.

Start working on the background, moving towards the foreground. Go back and make changes to the background, working forward again, over and over. The idea is to keep moving the piece towards an overall level of consistent finish, layer by layer.

Creating a space

At first the lion was floating in a yellow void. That has very little resemblance to the vision in my mind. I needed an environment to enclose the animal. I think about Medieval art, and the fantastic Bestiaries they used to render. The influence appears in the painting.

One of my painting mantras is “It’s just a base coat!” I am open to covering every inch of the existing painting over with new colors and brushwork, obscuring what came before, if needed.

The trick is seeing along the way what passages work, preserving them, enhancing them. It’s an intuitive method. Recognize which mistakes to keep.

I preserve the integrity of the initial composition, unless I find I made a catastrophic drawing mistake. When that happened on some of my pieces in the past, I’ve flipped the canvas upside down and started the stage one drawing all over.


I went back in with white and loosely defined some areas, working fast and brushy. Some will indeed wind up being white. In other places, the white is a base coat for glazes: transparent layers of color laid over the white will create quite a glow, one of my ongoing painting fascinations.

This is still the early phases of this image. I anticipate I will be working on it for several more months. Additional progress reports to come.

Painting is the medium of self-discovery. It engages the person fully with a process of action, emotion, thought and vision, revealing all of these with intimate and unforgiving breadth and detail.

-The Stuckists Manifesto


Earlier Installment:

A New Painting in Progress Part 1

14 thoughts on “STUDIO: A New Painting in Progress, Part 2

  1. It’s when you leave evident the way the brush applied the paint-all the streaks and roughness left by the bristles. The mark of the brush is left visible. The opposite of smooth.

  2. Old habit of observation from things I did when young. Kind of a guess from the switches on the wall to the left of the art work.

  3. Thank you, but with as much practice I’ve had it shouldn’t be hard. I’m teaching my daughter some of the things I know she also is an artist (w/ obligatory art history degree, pretty good with water colors) but very down to earth.
    I’ll try to be unusually brief (for me anyway). You as an artist probably know this how the visual has a long long history of sending messages, propagandizing, etc, especially in the arts. For a awhile the printed word was favored, but visuals are still preferred even unto today. The propagandists ran into a problem though with photos vs “artwork” with being able to control all of the information that is in the photo (this is one reason I have been fascinated with art and artists). A piece of art as you know comes out of somewhere in the artist, but what is in the art (sculptor, painting, etc) is strictly controlled by the artist. Whereas a photo is of something that exists on it’s own and hence is very very difficult to control all of the info contained there in.
    The first thing I taught her is when you look at something just look don’t judge. Anyway, a hint for you when you look at things; always look at shoes if they are present. Shoes almost never ever lie.
    Anyway that’s enough. By the way there is a lot of info in the pictures you post. Use your artist’s eye for detail and just look.

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