If At First You

by Steve Mitchell

Hello, Interwebs.

What’s that?  Where have I been?


You know, doing this, doing that.

Having analog adventures.


You might remember a few weeks ago, I expressed extreme frustration with a painting I was making for a friend.  This painting was to replace one I’d made for him which had been stolen.

I’d had an idea – a concept – but, ultimately, I wasn’t happy with it.  The painting was okay, for what it was, until I tried adding in the concept.

Here’s a close up of some of what I’d painted.



Basically, I figured I’d do a nice, unassuming landscape of some nice, unassuming foliage, then have trompe l’oeil bees nesting in it, as if the painting were cracked and had bees in it.  Our friend had found a beehive on his property and had had them peacefully removed by a beekeeper and I was going to mimic the crack in the wall where they’d lived.


The painting went fine and unassuming until I added the crack with the bees and then it was terrible.  It was jarring and off-putting.  The colors and the shape and the composition didn’t work.

I should’ve known better.  When I want to work with concepts, when I want to be glib and clever, I should use words.  

I painted the bees right back out and was left with an ornamental painting in need of something.

I wanted to throw it away.  Or burn it.  Or bury it.

But, instead, I vented and pondered and put it away.

Then I came up with an entirely different idea.  I’d do a La Catrina portrait based (loosely) on a Halloween costume our friend had worn one year.

Then I left it alone for three weeks because I didn’t want to think about it.

Then I painted it.

And here’s a short progression:


I kind of dig this…

I decided to just go right in over the old painting without putting down a solid color first.

You can kind of see, towards the bottom, the painted over bee crack.


Paint, paint, paint.  It’s a four foot by four foot wood panel.  I used a lot of paint.


“I ain’t got no body…”

And, more paint and paint and paint.  You get the idea.

I’ll just jump to the finished painting:


“Peacock Feather” – 4′ x 4′ – Acrylic on wood panel- 2016


And that’s that.

Our friend picked it up yesterday.  It’s a bit rougher than the stolen peacock painting.  But, our friend likes it.

And I like it.

I hope no-one steals it.