the story of a painting: "The Long Way"

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"The Long Way" / 16"h x 40"w x 1.5"d/ acrylic on canvas / 2016

I started this recent abstract composition because I had just finished a piece that required many different disparate colors and was left with a palette LOADED with paint I refused to waste.

I had a large canvas ready and began painting instinctively first with a palette knife. Soon, for some unknown reason, I began experimenting with the textures created when I troweled paint onto the canvas with different sized strips of stiff cardboard I had around for reinforcing packages.

This was the result of this experimentation and the first layer:

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Next, I used a brush to layer large flat shapes and covered those with a 1/2" check pattern. Only to forever alter all of that work within minutes by grabbing a few bottles of fluid paint and letting it flow down the surface of the painting from every edge.

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Then I started using the shapes created by the drips to inform and create other parts of the painting.

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Around this time, I had a little buddy keeping me company as I worked:

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The final bout of inspiration was to create wide winding and swerving unconnected bands, each made of four side by side colors...

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...because by then the meaning of the painting was revealed to me. I know that probably sounds weird, but a lot of times if I paint just for fun, I have no idea what I am painting until I am about two-thirds of the way through.

Once the shapes I had just created were outlined in black, my vision was complete and the painting was finished.

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Those colorful swooping unconnected bands represent past false-starts and disjointed paths. The painting is called "The Long Way" because it symbolizes the emotions of having arrived to a specific point in one's life having taken a difficult and unorthodox way to get there.

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The various layers resulted in a delightfully rich textured background. And, the drip-lines came to symbolize spontaneity and things that are inevitably not within our control, which fit in with the overall theme perfectly.

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Augmented Portraits (an origin story)

Last year, I made a mistake while I was laying out a commissioned portrait on a canvas in pencil. I don't know what it was, maybe I hadn't had enough coffee that morning, but something caused me to sketch the face far too low on the canvas. After staggering a bit, aghast at my own negligence, I erased what I could and started over. Of course, as we know, graphite never erases truly clean.

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