When someone stands looking at a painting, they often do not realize the crazy changes that might have gone on with it before it became what they see in front of them.
Not all Artists work the same way.
There are some Artists, ( I have heard of them , though possibly its just a rumor) that know exactly what they intend to do, and with a photograph in hand, off they go. Boring. Methodical. Efficient.
And rather Sane. They often get paintings done pretty quickly I hear.
And then there are Artists like me. Who start with a vague idea, existing only in their heads, and change it again and again until they get something they like, or maybe ruin something good they had at some point, or else, might just end up throwing the whole thing in the trash...but with luck
come up with a winner in the end.
The first sort of Artists probably think of my sort as "crazy people."
I would rather think of us instead as " true artists," and er, yes, maybe a little crazy.
We will be looking here at my recent painting of Tuscany. And the strange turns it took along the way. Giraffes were involved at one point. But none were
harmed in the making of this painting.
First, let me just mention that making major changes to a large painting is quite a lot of work, so you would ideally like to keep any such changes to a minimum.
The first sort of painters probably never change a thing. Gutless sissies that they are..
However I must admit, that each time I thought I was almost done with the painting , "something wasn't really quite right" and that something kept provoking me to keep going. And going.
At some point, an intervention of some sort might have been in order. Like being carted off in a straitjacket, for example.
My original idea was to paint a starscape. A huge dazzling night sky, that would drop my stunned viewers to their knees in awe, and give them a cosmic revelation of their place in the Universe. It sounded like a fine plan to me. But as you will see, it did not turn out as planned.
So, here is that first painting,-- such a long way from a Tuscan morning, Or evening, (However you choose to see it) that it would eventually become.
A good start really, but one that proved too blue. From there I darkened it. and added more stars, and then decided it needed a foreground......that is my shadow there, cast across the photo below...
I kinda wish now I had stopped right there. Pretty good! Mysterious. Compelling. One of my better efforts maybe? But there is no stopping me now. Push on...it really needs a focal point I think.
What better focal point than.......
Giraffes,-- of course! What else? And a setting sun behind them. Foreground embellished. And then I thought--
" who the hell wants a really dark painting of Giraffes and stars?" Looking at it now, in retrospect, maybe a lot of people would have. But a different idea had suddenly crossed my mind.
Shoo away all those Giraffes, and lets put some buildings in there instead. The perspective is seen from below in order to accentuate the skyscape ( whats left of it by now). A sunset has been added too, but its way too pink.....lets change that and see what happens....
What did I just do? Now it looks like the town is on fire.......some trees have appeared, I am now thinking longingly of the starscape I had a few versions ago....that I painted over.....of course!
Uhhh, so...lets try brightening up the whole thing! And, quite suddenly it all looks very garish.
The buildings also really don't seem to belong together. Sort of Mayan meets Tuscany. And though it is not apparent in the photo, the buildings, which were originally tilted up in perspective to accentuate the night sky, now seem menacing as a result. Lisa points this out to me, and unhappily I have to agree.
Lets bulldoze the place on the right.
Remodel the one on the left, And turn the clock back a few hours.
Luckily, I can do all this with a paintbrush!
After many hours of careful adjustments ( I didn't photograph all that) we are very happily in Tuscany on a warm summer evening.
I have been to Tuscany a few times , and this painting takes me right back there.The hills dotted with Villas and Castles, the light filtering through the trees, a sunset worthy of a movie set, and a bottle of Chianti on the terrace with our friends Riccardo and Anna Maria. So, you see, I did not even need a photo to go by, I just painted from the heart and the memories, and the feeling of being in that special place. Hopefully all that will resonate with someone else, and it will find a forever home in their house.
In the meantime, I think I might go back and try painting that starscape again....it was pretty cool.