I worked on it for about two weeks, and while that work was ongoing, I did several color studies, just totally painting out of my subconscious, thinking about the colors, and seeing how they played against each other. As I painted, wishing that ideas came more easily to me, I was realizing that it's all about vocabulary—you're only fluent with what you've done. So if you don't paint things that you don't think will work or you have trouble with, you'll just keep doing the same things over and over and you'll never do anything new or bold or innovative. So I played.
I used these paintings to try out two different canvas pads, one made by Fredrix and one with the Dick Blick brand on it. The Fredrix one is sheets of really heavy artist's canvas, and despite my using very wet paint, thickly applied, the sheet didn't warp even a tiny bit. In fact, I wouldn't have even thought about warping except that the Blick sheet warped like a cheap sheet of 90-lb. paper. It mostly flattened back out after I used binder clips on the pad to keep the top sheet stretched, but the edge is still ruffled. Both pads say they're triple-primed, but the canvas in the Blick sheets is so thin that except for the loose weave and cotton threads, I'm not sure it really qualifies as "canvas." It's more like chambray weight, just more loosely woven. So if you want a good heavy canvas pad, the Fredrix ones are great. On the other hand, if you want primed fabric that's probably flexible enough to sew, go for the Blick. It's cheaper than the Fredrix, which is why I wanted to try it.
|Lines of Direction|
I really had fun doing all these. Besides finding new colors and new shapes, I also got some practice working wet in wet. The virtue of working on supports that are cheap and take no room to store (if you want to keep them for a while) is obvious. And I can always reuse the heavy sheets. But I think the biggest thing I got out of doing these things is the same value you get from doing any painting—starting with just a vague idea and taking it to some stage of completion. And I was playing—no expectations, no pressure, no tension, just relaxed playing. It was a new experience for me to get up every morning for a couple weeks and feel excited about getting into the studio to just have fun.