Day 9 was “Redeem a Painting” Day. I hadn’t intended for it to be so. My process for the 30 Day Painting Challenge is to go to the studio, pull out one of the many 12 x 12-inch canvases I purchased on sale expressly for this month, and start painting. Today, however, the canvas I reached for was a bit loose on its stretchers. The corners all had little sagging spaces, and that just wouldn’t do.
So (and here’s a tip for all you artists out there who don’t know this already), I took out my handy spritzer bottle, and sprayed both sides with water. Then set the canvas aside to dry. It took a while, but it did the trick: the drying pulled the canvas tight as a drum.
I looked for a place near the window to dry so the sun could help. I saw a pile of failed paintings that I’d tucked away behind a curtained eave (the curtains had parted a bit, just enough for me to get a peek). On the top was a very nice linen canvas panel. I had attempted to paint some lilacs a couple of years ago, but I got too attached to a photo, and the painting turned out lifeless and too realistic, almost like those decorative paintings you see on vases and such. Ugh. Definitely not me. So I tossed it aside, and forgot all about it.
Until now. There it was, looking up at me. I swear, sometimes those paintings talk (no, I’m not crazy–they don’t literally talk; they just have a way of saying things).
This one said, “Want to try again?”
OK, thought I. Why not? It’s always good to try something new. So, I pulled the panel out, put it up on the easel, and began to cover it up with new paint.
To my delight, the texture of the old painting showed through and gave the new one an exciting energy and feel. Because of the roughness, I couldn’t get caught up in details. Here and there, little bits of the old painting’s colors would show through, and that added excitement as well. What happened was a very minimalistic style, full of its own kind of life and emotional force. I decided to keep the painting a tad monochromatic to allow the texture and energy to have the stage.
And thus, “Blue on Blue (Still Life)” was born. I might have to create some textured canvases or find more old canvas panels to paint over. I’m kind of in love with the roughness now.