Another Tree-Person

As promised, here is the second "tree-person" painting that I'm working on. Dave, incidentally, thinks it's hilarious that I call them "tree-people" as a place-holder name until I come up with their real title. It makes him think of those Californian hippie/activists who live in trees to prevent loggers from cutting them down. Not really my intention with this work . . . but I'm glad he's amused. I've decided that the unit of progress is a day's work, so all of the photos you'll see below contain a day's worth of painting, more or less.

The underpainting:

First layer:

Second go round:

Starting with the leaves:

Filling in the foliage:

And on . . .

and on . . .

and on . . .

Where things stand currently: 

A detail shot of an area I'm happy with:



I begin to see the finished painting starting to emerge at this point. This part of the process usually makes me incredibly anxious, because I'm afraid I'm going to fuck up the parts I already like trying to fix up the parts that don't quite work yet. What I try to do at this stage in the proceedings is to slow way down, and only work on the painting when I have a very clear, confident idea of what to do, and how to do it. No more playing around with various ideas to see what might work. How many potentially good paintings have I ruined by over-working? Oh lord, it makes me depressed just thinking about it. Finishing a painting is hard, though: Dave often asks me how I know when something is done. One answer that would be ideal, if I could follow my own advice, is that a painting is finished when there aren't too many parts of it that annoy me too terribly. When I can live with the level of my inevitable feeling of dissatisfaction. It's kind of a zen-like goal: just enough to finish, and no more. But getting there - and more importantly, knowing when to stop - is a tricky balancing act.

In the future, my plan is to post progress reports on various paintings as I go, not a giant fell-swoop post like this, but I haven't quite figured out how to organize the blog in a smart way yet, so bear with me while I work it out.