Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Disaster

In my last post, I briefly mentioned artwork in progress can turn out to be disasters.

Yesterday was a day for disasterous painting. It's a piece I just started. I finished the sketch of the important elements (Toll Gate Rock and the other cliffs in Green River, WY), painted in the blue sky, and THEN!!!--I started on the clouds.

It would have been OK if I would have known when to stop, but I kept re-working and re-working the clouds and ended up with something truly hideous. So I ended up painting them out and trying again until after midnight last night. This time, the clouds were even worse!!

Since the painting is on panel, this morning I did some sanding, trying to reduce the thickness of the paint film and the numerous glazes I had applied by this time. And I discovered using an electric sander on acrylic paint doesn't work the way I was expecting. The friction of the sandpaper produces enough heat to melt blobs of sanded-off dry paint into the remaining paint film. I had to hand-sand those spots until the blobs were gone and I had a basically smooth surface again. Si-i-g-g-h-h-h...

Well, in the meantime, I'm preparing the surface again, and by tomorrow, I should be on my way. So for now, I've posted one of 19th century artist Thomas Moran's many paintings of the cliffs of the Green River. My painting will be similar, but it'll definitely be my own. (For one, I was there in the morning, so my light will come from the right. Moran's afternoon light comes from the left).

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