I've been working really hard the past week or so, and until today I haven't thought a lot about about the fact that 15 people are showing up at our house for dinner on Thursday. The main reason for my preoccupation is shown above--a large (66"x30") painting (Shelter
) that I wanted to finish as soon as possible to show a collector that was looking for something in this size. When I heard of his interest, several of the panels shown here were underway, and they had started to coalesce into a composition that would meet his size requirements. So, I readily agreed to develop them in a way that would result in a 30" wide, vertical format painting.
Somewhat to my surprise, this straightforward approach turned out to be quite difficult. I'm not sure why I didn't anticipate that--after all, my usual approach to multiple panel paintings is to keep the shape, size and composition of the work in flux as it progresses...panels are substituted, added or removed until the very end--when the final composition emerges and I have the panels bolted together. That's a lot of flexibility that I take for granted.
It was also hard to focus almost exclusively on this one painting for days on end. Normally, I work on a number of paintings throughout the studio day, which keeps my energy up, the paintings fresh, and allows the oil and wax mixture some time to set up between layers.
This isn't the first time I've painted something in a particular size or format for a collector, but it has been awhile, and I've probably become more set in my process and ways of doing things in the meantime. It was good to see that yes, I can do this--but also good to recognize clearly that it is a departure from my normal process. And also to realize that a tight deadline as well is even more stress. In the end, I really like the painting and am also very happy about the collector who was willing to stick with me during this process. But it's been a rather grueling few days.
So--tomorrow I'm going to cook and clean for Thanksgiving, which seems to me like a welcome break! It's actually my favorite holiday and I'm looking forward to the gathering here. Happy Thanksgiving to all!