the story of a painting: "The Long Way"


"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:



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.



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



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



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



...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.



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.



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.