I thought it would be fun to share some of my process photos from Circular Abstract No. 5. This series was started in 2012 and the first 4 were done in oil on canvas. No. 5 was the first one in acrylic and it went through many phases getting to the final result. You can see I wasn’t sure what this painting would be when I started. I wasn’t even sure I would continue this series after No. 4. But now I have two more on my easel and am excited to see where they go.
Circular Abstract No. 5 – 24″x36″ acrylic on canvas, 2014.
I started out with free flow mark marking and lots of color. Just to see what happens.
Then I started playing around with organic elements. It was around fall of last year so the change of seasons had a lot to do with this.
And that became this totally wild and unexpected landscape (of sorts) which I played around with for awhile and eventually moved on from. I have no idea where this came from! It was kind of a stoner wonderland. I do really like the giant pear in the top right.
But alas the white paint came out as it so often does and I effectively started over. But I never white out a painting completely. Some of the existing painting always shows through. The “history” of the painting is usually the most interesting part!
I changed the orientation to vertical and the circles reappeared.
Then the addition of more organic elements. Some circles get painted out. Perhaps I was resisting the geometric structure? More mark making and seeing what the painting wants to be. At this point I really am at the mercy of the creative process.
Eventually I start to love what is happening. I think it’s interesting and dynamic, but still needs a lot to be a finished painting. There was a little too much going on. It needed value contrast and simplification. Taking things out is almost always harder than adding them in.
When I finally declared this painting “finished” it was, in my mind, perfectly balanced. The shapes, colors, lights, and darks were all working together. There was a sense of rhythm and flow. I would look at it for long periods of time and see nothing that needed to be changed. To finish it off I glazed on some interference paints that pick up the light and reflect its complimentary color (very difficult to photograph but see below). When it was completely dry I sealed it with a protective semi-gloss varnish.
If you look closely you can see the blue interference paint that is glazed over some of the dark areas. It’s so hard to capture in a photo but creates a nice illusion in person.
There you have it! This painting was started in October 2013 and completed March 2014, so 6 months in the making. If I “knew” what I wanted to do when I started it would have taken less time but I don’t think it would have been as interesting. It’s fun to look back and remember all the twists and turns a painting took getting to its final destination.