As much as I love prettiness, I fight against it in my work and my inner girly girl, fights back.
By prettiness I mean romantic palettes full of lovely pinks, dreamy peaches, glorious blues and all manner of pastel. Yummy, right ?
As a child I wasn’t allowed to wear pink or play with barbies. My parents hated that kind of feminine foolishness. Instead I was dressed in navy blue tailored dresses and was given trolls to play with. Remember these guys ? If you don’t. you’re lucky.
My mother’s greatest horror would have been my becoming a cheerleader.
So of course, when I had my own say, I couldn’t get enough pink, I highlighted my hair blonde, curled it and became very fashion obsessed.
That striving for the feminine has creeped into my painting and annoys me to no end, now, decades later.
As pretty as pinks are, too much of a good thing just cancels itself out and you wind up with a wimpy piece of art.
For this small painting, as is most often the case, I started with a vague color concept, painted away, working with complimentary colors, let it dry, looked at it later, turned it upside down, scraped it down, painted over it. This guy went through a bunch of phases before becoming completely revamped in the end. I might add that just as I seem to be ready to re-invent myself, the same is true with my art process.
As I looked at what I thought was the final version of this piece this weekend, in a cold wax painting workshop with the fabulous sara post, it occurred to me that my girly girl had had the final say on this painting I was calling “Pink Cloud”, and I was going to have to be drastic.
So with a couple of swift moves of the brayer, I subtracted most of what was there, and wound up with something that’s much more playful, more fun, still has pastels, but is bolder, more like what I’d put up on my own wall.
The moral of this story, for me anyway, is that less is better, subtraction is cool, to make a good painting, you need to fight the purely pretty and be ready to muck it up.