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Creative Process

This blog will follow the process of my current project: a series of three 5' x 9' figure paintings called "The Feast of Venus". I'll be posting the preliminary drawings and oil sketches as I complete them, and possibly add some commentary along the way. I have just begun this project and am working on the first painting in the series which has the working title "Stirring the Pot". All images on this blog are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Big One

When our story broke off in January of 2008 - is that possible? - I had decided that this would be the new idea for the central group of three cooks. I did a couple of studies and then, and then....and then I did a whole lot of other work including a new turn towards abstraction.

But the Feast kept knocking at my door. Late last summer as the warm days waned Tom and I prepared a 5' x 9' canvas. Preparing a canvas this size is not easy and not cheap. I ordered special stretchers from Canada and a fine heavy linen from Belgium. I also bought two quarts of white lead oil ground - hard to find and precious as gold these days.

The actual process of preparation (stretch the raw linen, apply three coats of rabbit skin glue followed by two coats of white lead ground and a final coat of glue mixed with dry color) was like a scene from a Paul Bunyan story - the one where the pan for Paul Bunyan's pancakes had to be greased by cooks skating around with butter strapped to their feet. At least that's how it felt when I had to stand on a tall ladder to stretch the long side of the canvas and it took 10 minutes for the two of us to rotate the Behemoth Wall Cover for each turn. Finally, the surface was finished and we brought the canvas inside for the winter. And, as I said, there it sat while I hosted a whole new set of ideas about painting.

In early spring my desire to work on the Feast arose once again and the first thing I did was to throw out all the new ideas and go back to the old ones. Think long, think wrong...