Thursday, May 19, 2016


I can't really explain where my paintings come from except that "everything goes into the pot."  Paying attention to what I resonate with leads to endless discovery and inspiration.

Sometimes when I begin a painting it seems to breathe immediately on its own with barely any assistance from me.  But some weeks ago I began a painting that took me on a long journey.  I didn't photograph the beginnings, because all my paintings start with a leap of faith, a choice of color and a belief that at some point I will find a direction to take it.  But as this one evolved and came closer to satisfying me, I documented the changes I made.

Between each of these photographs is a "studying time" which usually lasts from a day to a week.  This is when I stand back and pay close attention to the overall effect, getting clues for what needs to happen next.  It might be a color change, or the addition or subtraction of a line or form to make the composition more pleasing.  My work grows one step at a time from unfinished to that aha! moment when I feel it is successful.

Often I am immediately aware of a section that disturbs me and I know what I want to do to help it. This photo shows the basic composition that I created over the first few days.

The next photo is much more satisfying but I know it isn't complete.

This one, which was taken much later, made me feel good.  In fact, I was happy enough with it to call it finished and I put it on my web site.  I still needed to put a final coat of cold wax medium on for varnish though, and when I tried, I just couldn't.  I knew, blast it, that I still needed to tweak it before I could complete this last step.

My eyes kept landing on the little house.  I realized it just felt too whimsical.  I removed the painting from my web site and over the next few days worked in small increments to amend the area, arriving at this photograph.

More study, another few days, I conceded that despite my liking it better I had more work to do.  The whole lower portion seemed wishy washy now...

Finally, the painting felt right.  I left it alone overnight.  Joy in the morning!  I felt an instant friendship with it.  Yes, it was finished!
Voyager, 12 x 16" Oil and mixed media on cradled board

Instead of a journey, this painting was a real trek for me.  It taught me, once again, a hundred times again, to keep working until every bit of it feels right.


  1. Carol,

    I really liked the part where you felt an "instant friendship" with the finished piece. That is just it too isn't it? we have to live with these pieces and it's good if we like them as a whole, just in the same way that we like our friends as a whole.

    Good description too of your process and how you arrived at your final response. I guess we never get done learning about how to make our best work happen:)

    Good post! Thank you:)

    1. Libby,

      Thank you for your response! I know for certain that I never stop learning, and believe that is a good thing. If my art was predictable I doubt I'd continue with it. Sometimes a struggle brings us to our best selves. Ha! Just me being philosophical, I guess.