If At First You
by Steve Mitchell
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 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.
And, more paint and paint and paint. You get the idea.
I’ll just jump to the finished painting:
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.