Saturday, December 15, 2012

The road back from ugly.

Creativity experiment, days 24-34

When last we saw the train wreck of my 40 day experiment, I had all but covered the first three weeks of work.

Day 24: 
Added a wash of titan buff all over the whole thing to obliterate it even further.  Forgot to take a picture of the whole piece, but here's a close up that highlights a tiny bit of text that says "We have stupid".  Love that little bit.

 Day 25:
Time to build up some new layers.
 Glued on a big piece of painted tissue paper

Day 26: Glued on another big piece of painted tissue paper

Day 27: Painted around the orange tissue paper with a wash in a similar tint.  I didn't mean for it to drip down the edge of the blue tissue, but it looks kind of cool.

Day 28: Glued on some tissue paper that had been previously stamped with black circles.

Day 29:  covered that whole upper right corner with a very watered down raw umber.

Day 30: painted big circles with a heavy bodied raw umber

At this point I'm getting really happy again.  I like where it's going.
Time to mess it up!

Day 31:
Rubbed some neutral colored paint inside and around the circles.
Not sure this was a good move.

Day 32:
Rubbed some white paint inside and around some circles.
Definitely not a good move

Day 33:
Use my hand-carved circle stamp to add marks in light brown paint.

Day 34:
Gotta get rid of that white.  Used some watered down acrylics in the original colors to blend that white into the body of the painting.  Then got a little wild and crazy and did a second thing in the same day.  I sprayed some brownish ink in the upper right hand corner and let it drip.

This morning, Max (age 11) came and sat on the art room couch.  He noticed this painting for the first time in 34 days and said "Oh my god, that's beautiful!  When you're done can I have it?"

I think it's finally coming together.
Less than a week to go!


  1. Nice that Max appreciates Mom's chaotic energy and loves it just for what it is. Me too. Looking quite amazing. xox

  2. I'm really loving watching this gradual progression. :D

  3. Aww, what a sweet Max! Looking good...can't wait to see where you stop!

  4. I like Max. Why did I not name my buggerhead Max? Max is wise. Listen to him.

  5. You usually post a few days worth of progress at a time, and I always seem to find one version of this I love! :) Sounds like a fun (if somewhat maddening at times!) project!

  6. Karen.. well one thing for sure.. kids tell the truth, so believe it. It is amazing. What fun each day you've had (or not) to see it evolve.

  7. Can I rent Max?:)

  8. What a process. At each stage I always think it's a shame to cover it up, but then it just keeps getting more and more interesting each day.
    Great to get such positive feedback at home from Max - what an eye he has.
    I keep wondering how thick it will be when it is finished.

  9. Out of the mouths of babes - Max is so right! It IS beautiful :)

    I am LOVING watching this process, there is hope for my cock-ups yet. I must remember to just keep going and to not accept defeat lightly.


  10. I agree with Gina.

    Karen, I loved those tissue papers especially, and painting over part of them. Circles are usually healers. It's all looking great!

  11. Art is so full of layers - and some of the layers may be ugly! Love watching the progression of your work - it's wonderful that you persevered until you loved what you were making. Max sounds like a great kid!

  12. Max couldn't have summed it up better! Super fun seeing the progress!

  13. Yep - what a painful process it's been, but I'm loving where it's taking you. I love the addition of bold tissue colors and how you recovered from the white....Thanks again for sharing your efforts....I'm still toying the idea of trying this too - I have an old canvas against the wall that needs reworking....maybe a gesso coat and 40 days will save it!?

  14. makes me think of bubbles in a holiday drink. I am planning to drink a lot! so much fun to follow along on you 40 day adventure.

  15. I'm so enjoying going through this vicarious process with you - and I'm so proud of your patience! I'd be going crazy...But it's paying off, it's developed such texture and character, and is looking great!

  16. It's really looking fantastic Karen--that Max is one smart kid! Your patience is outstanding!

  17. I just stopped by to wish you and your family the happiest of holidays. I'll be back after the New Year.

  18. hey, I'm kind of dumb about google+. how do I follow you there? or frined you? wait, maybe i already follow you?