There is art that is completed in one sitting (often referred to as 'alla prima') and there is art that takes much, much longer. Sometimes the artist makes changes and tweaks to an original idea and needs time to make the magic happen. Other times the process is slowed because oil is one of the longest drying media and painting wet on top of wet isn't always the effect desired. When I get into a large oil painting I enjoy layering color on top of color, building up texture and a more mottled (as opposed to blended) effect.
This is why I tend to have many piece in process for weeks at a time and then all of a sudden, bam! there appears many finished paintings. Right now there are three large half baked paintings in my studio. And while I had very little to show for several weeks, ta-da! I was able to put 3 good sized efforts into frames just yesterday.
Here's a few that are now "show ready:"
Travel with me if you will.....
Plaza de San Fransisco, 12 x 9, oil on board, framed
Finished! After much work to get the stucco walls of the plaza interior to reflect the age and color they really are, I decided I really like the illusion of lines in this piece. Forget where it is or what it is and just let your eyes bounce around to all the curves and lines and shapes formed by the sun and shadow. Not a soul in sight I like to wander through this scene and wonder just how far down the street I can imagine seeing. The black frame really made this piece pop.
Rooftop Dance, San Miquel, 24 x 18, oil on canvas, framed
Still in Mexico this is a rooftop scene I showed earlier while it was in progress. It took several weeks simply because I wanted to use a "glazing" technique on the sky and the background buildings. This is where you use just a tiny hint of color and a lot of medium that suspends the color and makes it almost like a thin sheet of glass on top of the piece. I added about 16 "thin sheets of glass" (which each took a day to dry) in an effort to build up the see-through feeling of the sky and to also push the buildings back while letting the laundry and fence come forward.
Lasting Impression, Rome, 20 x 16, oil on canvas, framed
Finally, we return to Rome. I have tried to paint the coliseum many times. It became very difficult because my mind told me one thing, the reality of the city hub presented another, and the actual truth of the pieces and parts that jigged and jagged together presented another. The coliseum has old sections supported by new reinforcements, there is even a huge portion covered in scaffolding and drapes as it gets "restored." So I had to settle for an "impression" of sorts that combines bits of all of the realities. Yep, I left out the city traffic but the sky and the tree are real. Nope, didn't paint the tourists and school children winding their way past the building and down the street. I painted "my" coliseum....and it may well serve as your impression as well!
I will be putting these up on my website shortly but if you have any questions or interest you may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quick reply.
AND P.S. I received many excellent ideas last week on how to share (code for divest) myself of art that no longer fits our needs. I am ponder all of the avenue and will share something this fall when we make the final decisions on what goes and how it leaves. Stay tuned! But thanks to everyone for offering their many creative ideas...I'm inspired.