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There are likely as many methods of developing an original painting as there are artists; or maybe as many as there are paintings. I’ll have to think about that as this develops.
Let’s start with my most recently completed work, “ A River Runs Through It”.
Starting with the end, the piece was named and the theme discovered AFTER the painting was completed. So how did it develop? In my case, I think the ideas for a painting come from a “collusion” of ideas, colors, and other remotely related items.
This one started with two frames. An artist friend was moving and selling a lot of the accumulation of stuff that artists acquire as they progress. Among her stuff were two beautiful golden 30” x 40” frames; very thick, expensive, and heavy frames. I bought them with nothing in particular in mind; although I do believe that good framing is vital to showing off a piece in the best light, and helpful to buyers in saving money. Good framing is very expensive.
So set aside the frame aspect, although it did lead me to looking into my stuff to see if I had two 30” x 40” canvasses. It turns out that I did have three canvasses that size, all already painted, but two were “paint overs”. That’s a term I use when a work doesn’t turn out and needs to be “painted over”. The third one is marginal as a paint over. We’ll see.

So set that part aside. A few months back I attended an interior design association meeting presented by a paint company. They were presenting the color combinations they saw as the colors for 2019. They presented everyone in attendance with a color book with five themes. I liked the theme they called “Wanderer”, since my wife is one (a wanderer.) it occurred to me that she might like the finished product if it was in her color pallet. (She didn’t).

Then I considered a diptych, two separate paintings “connected” by theme, color, and design. I had the two matching frames. I’m still thinking that a diptych might be in the cards. We’ll see. I may try that later today.
Anyway, I chose the worst painted canvass of the three to start. Interestingly, it had some steel wool wires sticking out of the left center. I like steel wool in paintings (“Pinpoint Purple”), so it remained.

So I had a frame, a canvas ( steel wool and all), and a color pallet). So I got started. I mixed the colors and started painting around and over what was already there. The original on the canvas wasn’t good, but it was a fully painted canvas. I have a process I call “ burnishing”. I suspected a lot of artists do something similar, but I didn't learn it anywhere, I just started “burnishing” some areas of some paintings (“Burnished Gold”, "Burnished Copper”, and “Rusty Auto Parts”.) It involves painting an area and then quickly wiping off the paint, “burnishing”. It allows the colors and textures underneath to show through more or less, depending.

Anyway, I burnished most of the painting, ending up with beautiful colors and textures. I spend as much time looking at a painting in progress as I do painting it. As I looked at the developing piece, I began to see a river, a village, tributaries, and other landscape attributes. I developed those attributes, ultimately ending up with “ A River Runs Through It”. It resembles an aerial landscape, in an abstract contemporary way.
So now I’m thinking of a sister piece, a diptych, of mountains, tress, a lake, etc. it would be the same color pallet. We’ll see.
There hasn’t been much interest in an early piece “Persedeis Meteor Shower”, and it's large, so maybe these two will replace it in my studio.
You just never know.