Working on Colors n Stuff

I’ve been working, but only on and off the past week, which is why it’s been slow-going. Life gets in the way. Somebody once said that. Didn’t they? Well they was smart.

There just haven’t been many, or really more than one or two days, where I was able to work on art for any extended hours, and when I don’t have more than a couple of hours in a row to allocate towards it, it’s hard to work: squeezing out all the colors, mixing them, prepping the work space, etc. only to have my colors start forming a dry film around them. That always sucks. That stuff is expensive!

These aren’t excuses. I’ve had other appointments that I was no longer able to put off. I was driving around with an expired license for one thing, and I needed new glasses. (I was practically blind!) And then there’s therapy. I’m blind there too.

It’s also been hot as hell lately, so working in the garage studio has been torture. I have to get out of there by 1:00 or I’ll get heat stroke. I have to start early in the morning and that’s not always easy. I’ve been sleeping until nine or 10 some days! I don’t know if I’m coming down with something, or if it’s just the nature of the auto-immune beast, but I swear I’m going to bed fairly early.

Regardless, there were at least two days last week where I was able to work in the studio for five hours anyway, beginning at 10:am. Both days were in the mid-90s. I’m out of my mind – I thought to myself, but only after I was finished. I am too involved when I’m in the moment and really don’t realize how dehydrated I might be getting.

I’ve been working on another 16 x 20 inch abstract desert landscape, only this one is a bit different from the first two. Well, a lot different.


It’s hard to tell what’s happening here so far, but as you can see, there’s a lot going on. I’m actually hoping that you can’t tell right now. Mjp thought he saw a motorcycle, so I was glad that he was way off.

These pieces are going to be evolving as I do them. I think you can see a big difference already between the first and the second one. This third one is going to be super different. Of course, I still worry if they can all be shown together – but I’m going to anyway. I’ll have to.

I feel like I have to give this one a month to finish as well. Still a lot of detail, but a little more freedom. We shall see how it goes.

However, I have one more this size to do (minimum anyway) before I move onto a couple of 20 x 24 inch sized panels, and to tell you the truth, I believe those are going to go faster than these have been going.

How do you figure, Carol?

Because I have spent so much of my time with the smallest details. That’s why. That’s where all the time has been going. And that’s not easy with a shaky hand. It seems if I did have to spend so much time being so critically careful, I could ride through it quicker. I don’t know. It makes some sense to me. But maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

I unfortunately fell in love with these kind of funky frames for these – just for the 16 x 20s – and wouldn’t you know it? They are expensive. They don’t look expensive, but they are. I could only mock up a small picture of it:

white frame

What do you think? Gaudy, yes? Yeah, that’s what I’m going for.

Anyway, when I’m not working on the new one, I’m back inside the house (where there’s air conditioning) working on this one – another collage painting on a birch panel.

This was when it was in its first stages, which was after I cut the paper composition and stuck it to the panel. I had added some bit of fabric. The bottom fabric was a bitch to deal with because it’s a cotton jersey. No amount of starch would make it stiff enough. It kept stretching and moving, but I finally wrestled it evenly and flatten it with the power of the Baby Jesus.


Now it’s in its second stage. It’s got some oil paint on it now. I think I’m going to be skipping the acrylics on this one. I’m not ruling it out, but so far, no dice.


Sorry about the bad photograph, but I snapped it on the easel at the end of the day. That dark color is actually a chocolate brown. It’s pretty pleasing, I must say. Looks black in the photo though.

Oh, and painting on that paper is crazy. It sucks up oil paint like you wouldn’t believe! It dries as fast as you touch it to the paper. I thought the clayboards were slurpy. The pattern paper is bone dry. But I seem to like that sort of thing. It gives an interesting texture – almost velvet-looking.

I seem to enjoy integrating color blocking with the fabric patterns. I was on the fence about even using fabric in the first place. I was afraid it looked a little…I don’t know. Whack? But then I like whack. Nonetheless, there is something fun about finding a strategy in making the patterns work together by connecting a color palette that will give it some sense. It’s not the biggest challenge on Earth or anything, but it’s enough where I am enjoying myself.

The real challenge with these: titling them. I have no idea what this one will be called. The working title for this one is The Porch.

And speaking of palette, I decided to make mine in Photoshop. It was an interesting experiment. If you hold this thing up next to pretty much any of my paintings, you’d see the correlation. They match each other like Garanimals.

Everyone has their own palette. Mine is not all together unique or anything. I mean, it’s unique to me. I guess what I mean is that it is not very complex or anything. People that make portraits or landscapes – and do them in very distinct styles – they have pretty complex palettes. Mine is generally made up of primary colors (more or less), with a few little variables.


The subdivided ones mean that I mix those colors. They aren’t straight out of a tube.  I was thinking of going back and putting the colors into the little subdivides, but maybe I should keep at least some mystery? Not that most artists couldn’t figure it out. And I could name off the tube colors too, but those seem like no-brainers to me and would to anyone else, right?

Well, I’m killing time here. I’m not working today because I’m going to see the space shuttle with my nephew and my brother. He’s actually my 2nd cousin. He’s the one that my brother is trying to adopt, but the state courts (Alabama in cahoots with California) are taking their sweet time on. Damon and Sammy (the baby) have been here visiting the family for six days and they go back tomorrow. We’re hoping this situation will resolve itself in the next six weeks.

Damon and Sam in route to Los Angeles

ALSO: I just posted a new entry on the Exodus Project Blog.

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