Art in Action...begins with a blank canvas
This particular client is a personal friend of mine. She used to have Summer Camp for about five to ten kids at her lake home each summer. Her home is also like a mecca for friends and family. All she really told me was it had to be big. Three by five feet big! We went into Atlanta to buy supplies. I had absolutely no idea what would go on that gigantic canvas!
The Creative Process
Once I have an idea of what my client has in mind, I search for a picture to represent that idea, but in this case, I had no clue what I was going to paint. Funny thing though about Coming Home, it showed up the very next day on a friend's Facebook page. As soon as I saw it (and got permission), I knew it was perfect! My client was thrilled! After prepping the canvas and transferring the drawing, I began. Never had I ever attempted such a large painting. Those squiggly marks in the foreground was me not wanting to waste paint. I really didn't know at that point how they would eventually become part of the undertones of the water. At first I was pretty (VERY) overwhelmed, but with DAILY encouragement, I began to hit my stride. I focused on one section at a time. I could see in my mind where I wanted it to go. Gradually, it started to unfold.
It is not automatic. Not by any means. It takes time, rhythm and courage. Sometimes it takes more courage than I think I have. It also requires trust on my part. Trust and a belief in myself that if I persist, I will get it on canvas the way I see it in my mind's eye. I so often hesitate to show a work in progress to anyone. They can only see what's on the canvas, not what's in my head.
When working on a piece this large, I had a hard time finding a stopping place each day. Which is why I so often paint until the wee hours of the morning. Either I reach a point of fatigue or I use up the paint on my palette. Even then, I take a picture on my phone to study before I fall asleep. Often that's when I find something which needs correcting.
With Coming Home I primarily worked on the canoes and the dock. Once I felt like I had them right, I began to focus on the water. I am convinced I could overwork any piece, but there does come a point where I think it is finished. However, the ultimate moment of completion occurs when my painting is hanging on the owner's wall.