Rooting around in an artist’s brain

I think I started this painting (Sky Pads 28) a little over a month ago. It should have been finished a couple of weeks ago but it insisted on raising issues I had no immediate answer for. So I did as usual, which was to let it sit there, to stare at it blankly, and wait until something suggested itself.

The flat pads in the foreground presented the first challenge, which fortunately just let me stumble through and arrive at something I liked. The issue was color. I had used different base colors for the right set of pads than for the left. I don’t know why. Somehow I just thought in the middle of progress to change the process. When I got to the layers on top of the base colors the combination I used for the right side was not going to work for the left–but—they had to look the same, or at least similar. Otherwise it was going to look like two different paintings. Or at least the work of two different artists. Couldn’t abide that, so I just kept trying things out until I found a combination that worked. Not the best method in the world, but you do whatever works.

First pass underpainting on left side, second pass on right side

Sky Pads 28, basically finished except for one tiny corner.

After that, completing the nice big green/yellow leaves climbing into the upper right hand corner was pretty much of a routine matter. But all the time I was painting them I was giving the side-eye to the last remaining, teeny tiny area. There was this little red smeary circle with what might be a worm in it in the upper left-hand corner which was totally unintended. See the photo below.

The background. Something landed in the upper left hand corner while it was drying.

I knew from previous experiments that I was never going to get that little circle area to blend into the flow of poured-on paint around it. But I couldn’t make myself just leave it there, regardless of my vow to leave all poured paint “as-is”. It was just too distracting, too unrelated to its environment.

The answer came not from any active searching for it. I just happened to remember that last summer I spent an inordinate amount of time photographing dragon flies out on the Mill Pond. I don’t know why I spent that much time, because I also remember thinking I would probably never have any use for them. Especially since they don’t like to pose for you–you have to track them as they’re flying in order to get anything resembling good focus, and they like to make a lot of sudden dips and turns. I did get one nice shot, though, and as if to make the job easier, it was even facing the right direction for what I had in mind.

Final version of Sky Pads 28 now has a little dragon fly appearing to have just touched down and then lifted off, leaving a little ripple behind.

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in art, landscape, oil paintings, painting techniques, Poured paint, Sky Pads and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Rooting around in an artist’s brain

  1. Nancy Powers says:

    I love the life in it! Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alli Farkas says:

      Thanks Nancy! I used a dragonfly once before in a painting, back in the 90’s. The source photo was given to me by a painter friend who thought it would look neat in the painting I was working on at the time. She later bought the painting! But no more dragonflies since, until now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. anne leueen says:

    I am not a painter but I always enjoy your walking people like me through your process. It gives me a much more interesting view of the painting. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s great. I love following your process. And dealing with those little accidents is such a common thing to have to do, I find. With me, it’s usually a slip of the cutting tool 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    Ha! I love your solution!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yup, that’s the answer. There are several reasons I love birds……

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Despite the struggle, it turned out beautifully. And I love the idea of painting a dragonfly on that spot in the upper left corner.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Forgive me for being silent for so very long, although I enjoy every single post! Via wifi at the nearby restaurant, the text loads when I refresh the email queue, and then at home I scroll through the posts and read at my own leisure. Sometimes the images load as well – always a treat, but usually it’s the next wifi check to load the post/images in a new window. Presently (off line at home) there are about 40 windows open, and as I read they get X’d off one by one. Some remain on the screen – like this one has been for almost a month!

    Now online at the nearby restaurant, most of my comment was lost, as WP requires a ‘refresh’ to send a comment after it’s been on the screen for a session. Drats.

    Suffice to know that I enjoy all of your posts, the evolution of the paitnings/series, etc.

    You must miss your equestrian outings, but maybe you’re able to ride now.. Surely that’s good tonic for the soul, and important to have a balance with the quiet/intense focus of painting.

    I loved that final touch of the dragonfly, and at the time you posted that, two other people posted images of dragonflies during that same ‘internet session’ for me.

    Now it’s time to hit ‘send,’ and goodness I hope that it doesn’t bounce back! Sending you positive virus-free energy from the equator!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alli Farkas says:

      Not to worry! I don’t even live out in the boonies and my internet has been off-and-on ever since everyone started staying home in the pandemic. I have been able to ride, though, and Ms Sassypants does manage to keep me on my toes!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.