Evolution of a Painting
This painting began with an idea. I was listening
to a song about recalling one's youth, as another
birthday neared. And I realized that looking back
is often easier than loking forward as we age. So,
after several thumbnails, I composed this tribute
to remembrance and the pleasure it often brings.
I begin each painting with a pencil drawing the same
size as the canvas. That way I can assess the composition
and details without committing to paint. I make lots of
changes at this stage so I can concentrate on painting
once I am sure of the structure.
The next step is to transfer the graphite drawing to
canvas and outline the major shapes with acrylics. I
use an outline color that will be compatible with the
color scheme, and create a wash to block in the major
areas of dark and light.
Now I add base colors to the composition, and
I cover the entire canvas so I can assess the color
relationships and the major contrasts.
Notice that I removed the barrels on the left behind
the car. I realized that although they made sense in the
drawing, they did not provide enough contrast to the
fender. Therefore, I painted over them, and the car's
outline became sharper and easier to understand.
Every change impacts the entire composition, so
the painting undergoes a reevaluation with fresh
eyes each time I begin a painting session. What
promises to be successful one day might be over-
painted the next. The art is always in a state of flux
until I sign my name.
Orignally I had drawn the man sitting on n over-
turned bucket. Then I turned it into an apple crate.
But neither seemed to work, so I simply reshaped
the tree root and placed him atop that. Also, I had
planned to have him holding an old newspaper, but
I realized that these items were not necessary to tell
With the hands repainted, I added one more symbol
of passing time, the wristwatch. Along with the watch,
the decrepit barn, derelict car, and gnarled tree, all
speak of the passage of time the man stops to ponder.
It's a moment we all experience, that moment of mixed
pleasure and regret, as we pause to reflect on our lives.
The process complete, I titled the painting "Those Were
the Days...". I hope I have captured those precious
moments we all encounter.