improvised, not composed

I didn’t get those show pieces together in time, so I’ve set them aside. I’ll try finishing them by the spring and aim them at a different show.

I’m a leaf in the wind.


When last we left this one, it looked like this:


I’m not sure it’s obvious from these photos, but this is a pretty big painting, at least for me. To continue with it, I needed a bigger easel, because the backing board it’s clamped to is too heavy for the portable. On Wednesday night I built this:

It’s just some planks sawed apart and screwed together with bent angle brackets. It is as crude as can be, but it works. You can waste a lot of time finely crafting the tools you need to do other work, and never get to the actual work. That’s a chronic problem of mine. This thing doesn’t need adjustable sliding bars, it doesn’t need to fold up for storage or transport, it doesn’t need to be carefully measured. Cut it, screw it, and move on.

See, it works fine.

Thursday night I shut myself in the studio with a six pack of Newcastle Brown Ale and obliterated the background.

This one has been painted over and over on top of itself about three times now. The thing about how these started is, I was just playing. I wanted to try working bigger than my usual 20″x30″ rectangle but I had no real idea what to do so I had a model pose and just drew. The beginning of this was just three poses on the same sheet. When the center figure came together, really when the weird magic started happening around her hips where the drawing gives out to a cone of blank white with an arm shadow crossing it, I knew it was worth elaborating. But at this point it was also obvious that the thing needed a point. It was improvised, not composed. I had to look at it a lot, then set it aside and let the confabulation engine grind on it a bit.

Something about cloth, a skirt of white butterflies, twin presences hovering and touching. It was enough to start again, and it’s going this way now:

I’ve rubbed out her face again, mostly. Her head was just too big. It happens, and I’m learning not to stress too much about the mistake. Even if there is good detail in the face, even if it is, by itself, well rendered, if it blows the balance of the whole, better to just repaint it, even at the risk of it being rougher.

Besides, I really think the heart of this one is going to emerge around these hands:

I’ve been filming my work on this one in bits as I go. Hopefully when it’s done I can put together a little video.

Post by

Bill became odd after surviving a long series of mentally destabilizing encounters with Numinous Memetic Entities. He likes to curse, and considers evocative vulgarity to be the last remaining genuine form of poetry left to the human heart.

See more posts by this author