So I haven't been doing a lot of photography lately(though I do have new stuff from Ireland last year that I will post soon). I have, however, been working on painting quite a bit in the last two years. Unfortunately, I have been in a bit of a frustrating slump in the last month or so - basically hating everything I worked on. Finally, I made something that I'm halfway happy with.
I decided to try my hand at a horse painting - a subject I love to photograph. The above photo shows the current state of my painting. I'm pretty surprised I like it, as I don't normally like painting with reds and oranges. Here's a few work in progress photographs:
Day 1. First I painted the background with acrylic paint. A lot of purple and tan. After that dried, I spent some time studying it while turning it upside down, 90 degrees, etc. I've been trying to exercise the ability to see shapes or picture in my abstract backgrounds - ideas that I want to bring forward into the final painting. I did see the partial image of a horse's jaw and mane hidden in the background, and decided that's what the painting would be(sorry, I didn't take a photo of this step - not sure if anyone else would've seen the horse or not). Next up browns and tans, trying to bring the horse to life. The jaw(mandible?) is wrong here, but sometimes I need to step back, photograph the work, to figure out what's not working. I ended the day here. Don't feel I'm out of the slump yet, but much happier than I'd been for a while with my paintings.
Day 2. I had two goals on day two. I wanted to fix the proportion issues, and I wanted to brighten the painting(I just wasn't in the mood for browns and dark purples). Here's how I ended day two. I felt it was better... but still not happy with it, and still not feeling out of the "I hate everything I've done" slump.
Horse in oil 36x36
Day 3. I decided that part of my "I hate everything I've done" slump was that I just wasn't liking the look of acrylic paint. I missed the richness of oils. I really try to like acrylic - you can do some amazing things with it. One of my favorite things with acrylic is dripping paint - and I've yet to find a way to satisfactorily mimic that in oil. So I keep trying to like acrylic... and just keep coming back to oil.
Anyway, due to my frustration with several of the paintings I've been working on, I decided to just play with this one a bit, and see what happened. First off, I used oil sticks with the lovely yellow, and some blue. I was starting to like it. Then I got my regular oils out, and put a glove on, and decided to "finger paint" - meaning I didn't use a brush, just my hands and occasionally a palate knife. I started with the background, greens, oranges, some cold wax, and even sand for texture. Didn't really like it, so I scraped most off at one point and started over. Then I moved to the horse. I used that gorgeous red color - a color I have previously avoided in paintings, as I normally don't like it. Here, this time, it spoke to me - made me happy! Some purples, blues, yellows, and greens later - I'm liking the horse, so I go back to the background. Finally, I'm done, as the paints too wet to do any more without making a mess. But, at this point I decided the edges were all to "sterile"... I don't know how else to describe it - I wanted it to be more free and less "perfect" so I just kinda smeared it with my hands - outward from the horse. Finally! I like something I'm working on, again. It's a nice feeling! I haven't decided if I'm done yet. Time will tell!