This is when painting starts to get really fun for me. I feel like in the previous stages, there is a lot of remembering to just trust the process, because the painting can often feel sloppy and ugly in the early stages. Sometimes the blocks of colors blend in with one another and the painting just feels flat and boring. But I just keep going, I just keep trusting myself and the process, and then, as I say, "the colors start to sing--" and that can happen very suddenly. I'll be working away and out of the blue, it's like, "oh, there you are!" Each layer had been building up and up and up until really beautiful things begin to happen and all the colors start to play nicely together.
On this bison I did two things that really moved the painting out of the "sloppy stage." First of all, I decided that I would go forward with my inclination to push some darker shadows across the left side of the face. I was a bit anxious about doing this because I was worried about the painting feeling too heavy. Instead laying in more shadow straightaway, I continued to play with the colors on the bison more before committing. I finally decided to just go for it. I think it turned out well! What do you think?
The next thing I did was begin to add more vibrant colors. I try to get the colors to play on one another, but also give them the space to breath when they need it. It's about knowing when to really push something and when to back away. At this point the bottom layers start to pop as well.
This painting is big-- 48"x48", so there is also a lot of leaning in and stepping back. With big paintings it is really easy to get into the grove of painting and forget to step back and view it from a distance. Often this leads to messed up proportions or misplaced elements.
Each layer had been building up and up and up until really beautiful things begin to happen and all the colors start to play nicely together.
At this stage the colors I choose are very important. I'm past the stage of blocking things in. There isn't going to be a whole lot of covering up what I lay down, so paying attention to the way each color interplays with the colors around it is high priority. I'm also paying attention to the finer details of where things are, what the texture is like, and making sure that proportions don't get out of wack. At this stage the subject really starts to get more personality.