Thankfully I was able to get my rear in gear and finish this one. I must remind myself not to use this particular type of canvas again, though. I usually use gallery-wrap ready-made canvases from that ubiquitous art supply store, Dick Blick. The canvas on these ready-mades takes my painting style easily and doesn’t care that I’m putting on a bunch of thin layers of paint in total contrariness to the usual rules of oil paint. However, I had an old portrait that I used to use in my booth but had retired when better stuff came along. So I took that canvas off and stretched a new piece over the old bars. For some reason I chose to use what I had left over from a huge project several years ago, and that canvas has a lot of what we call “tooth” to it. It’s way more on the textured side than the smooth side. I discovered when I got to the dark areas of the painting that this canvas just did not want to let my thin paint sink to the bottom of the texture. As a result, I had all kinds of little pinpoint white spots showing through, no matter how many times I tried to go over the dark areas. So I ended up taking a small brush, loading it with paint, and pushing it into all those little spots. Tedious, but pretty much got the job done. What’s left is not distracting so I can live with that.
Way, way back when, I did a series of 16 paintings of lotus leaves. By the time I got to number 16 I was pretty much done with that subject. Now, about 25 years later, as I was sitting on my little dock on the pond this summer I took some photos and noticed that the water lily pads in the pond seemed to be floating in the reflections of the clouds. The result is a stack of photos suitable for another series which I am starting with the painting above. This is only a washed-in background which will influence the way the painting goes but will probably not be noticeable in the finished work. This background is totally random, and was created by brushing some paint on the canvas (quite large, at 32″ x 48″) and then dribbling turpentine over the paint and letting it travel where it wanted. The circle in the center is the result of a low spot in the stretched canvas where the turpentine eventually settled. Will have to make sure the canvas is nice and tight before doing the next step.