This was a tighter painting. Once in a while it happens, like when I painted "Cocoon". Tightness is relative, and I still don't go anywhere near as tight as many painters...So maybe I should say I aim to create the illusion of tightness. My favorite portion of a painting is in the beginning/middle stages, so it takes an extra something for me to dwindle near the end, creating refinement. More and more I force myself to do it, which takes a large amount of patience, and everything in this painting reflects that theme.
First stage. I hesitate to show sloppy block-ins, because it's not the method that I teach and that I was taught. This sloppy stuff is not a good way to do it when you're a student. Plus starting on a white panel, boo!
Next stage: (See? Now I gotta cover all that pesky white)
And the finished painting, "Patience" (16x12 oil on panel, 2014):
I like painting "loose" with a generous dose of abstraction. I never had a problem with over-working a painting. I never had difficulty with stopping a painting and moving on to something new. My challenge was learning to settle in, slow down, and push the detail. That's what this painting is about. In the background hangs my painting "Fifty Pounds", an example of my normal previous tolerance for detail. At the time, I rarely went tighter than that. ("Fifty Pounds"--my favorite physical activity is lifting, and building muscle is something else that requires patience). So for "Patience" my goal was to step it up a little. The focal center, the espresso pot, represents my typical sense of urgency which I needed to restrain for the duration of this painting.
Four years later, my tolerance for realism and detail has continued to increase. At the same time, I feel free to more fully explore the opposite end: wild abstraction.
Thanks for reading! -David