History of a painting (part one)

imageI have in my studio a beautiful stretcher , 78 by 110 inches built years ago by my friend Fred Esher . I needed the canvas for it and I was so anxious to start that  instead of going to my regular supplier in Brooklyn , I went to a smaller shop close by in Soho. They didn’t have linen that size in stock. The only available canvas that large was cotton duck, good  American cotton duck, three times cheeper than the one I want. I decided to buy it,I know I’ll regret it later but I need to try it. I drove with my purchase to the studio and before lunch time,the canvas is stretched and the first coat of gesso applied .
I was anxious to start because ,this time,I now what I want to do, a “cowhide” .I will follow the same steps I took to make “La Bête”, a painting of the same size that I believe to be among the  best three or four works I painted this year. I already try to use this’ painting technique a couple of times since, but fail miserably with color,shape,depth,scale… Basically because I was working in a rush ,with the end result ahead of the process.

So I begin by preparing my paint mix and sticking the piece of carved wood that ,acting as a dorsal spine ,will create a tent-like situation for me to control the poring of paint.

First step

First step

Second session

Second session

Next day

There are things I like but it doesn’t have the depth and touch of linen. I start the process of observation , what to add, what to remove,just intuitively . I decided to increase the depth of darker areas with Egyptian violet, that is to play an important roll later.

3rd day

3rd day

Nah….I can feel that I’m losing spontaneity because of fear. So,I should stop and let it rest. That much I know by now.

But…. I want to paint……

to be continued……

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