Branching Out

tuscany - 1triptych drawing - 1


This tryptich is the result of one thing leading to another.  Sometimes, well, really all of the time, when we’re in the throes of creating, something happens to make us switch gears.  After an initial action, there’s a reaction.  This leads us to question our original plan.  How this played out with this painting is that I don’t like waiting.  Because I decided to try a new material I’d never used on canvas, an  absorbent ground which would afford me the chance to paint with watercolor on the canvas, it took a much longer time to dry on the canvas than it would have on watercolor paper. That entailed having to wait to paint and the only reason I love both watercolor and acrylic is that I don’t have to wait for paint to dry like I used to with oils.

In order to solve the problem, I decided to paint several paintings at a time.  Feeling even more I ambitious, I got the bright idea of doing my first triptych.  I gathered sketches from my notebooks I’d drawn and decided which sketches of female nudes to transfer onto the canvases. As I drew the figures, images of fall leaves began to take form in my mind.  I’ve always loved the splash of color from leaves in fall.

The image at the top of this post is a picture I took of the 3 canvases before I began painting them. I’d already drawn some of the leaves as a guide. The picture below is the first painting of the 3 images above.

triptych drawing 1 - 1

I started with this sketch first. It took awhile to get into the flow of painting leaves, so I went back and forth between each of the painting’s leaves to achieve some semblance of unity with all three paintings. Doing more than one painting at a time had an added bonus I couldn’t have known if I hadn’t experienced it. It took the edge off of the anxiety that arises while focusing on only one. For whatever reason, my interfering need for perfection (I’ll never reach that. No one ever does.), my fear I’ll mess it up (so what? There’s always another chance), or any other thought that usually takes me away from Loving what I’m doing, never came up. I’ll tell you about a big mess I made on one of the other paintings and how I reacted to that so differently than I could’ve in the past.

For now, I’m going to leave you with a quote that sums up what I want to achieve with my art.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”


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