One Painting Keeps On Giving
Have you ever noticed how artists produce one art piece and then continue to use that same underlying design to produce many more pieces based on that same idea? If you have noticed this, thank you. It is one important way artists, in my case painter, build out from the original idea to develop new work.
In this blog post I am using my piece titled ‘Raking Light’, 36×36, acrylic 2013 to demonstrate this idea. A snapshot I took in Provincetown, MA many years ago was the spark or gift for this series. Beautiful late afternoon orange-yellow light positioned low in the sky lit up the crest of the curve of the harbor beach along with small sailboats that were sitting on the mudflats and floating in the deeper waters. The diagonal thrust of the painting from left to right and the warm orange yellow tones in proximity to the cooler lavenders was a glowing color combination that resonated quickly with a new collector. It was exhibited one time and sold. What a great feeling.
That sale influenced another commissioned piece of the same imagery at a different size using same color palette. This made sense to me and I began to understand that just because I painted an image once didn’t mean it made the imagery unrepeatable. It was the snapshot gift and one painting that keeps on giving. Now I see it as just the beginning. I learned what appealed to the buyers and went ahead and created new works based on this knowledge. Not copying– but analyzing what worked and further explored this knowledge in new versions.
It may be the overall composition that is brought forward in a new work or simply color changes. In the case of ‘Reflecting On Summer’ 24×24 acrylic on canvas 2014, I focused a bit more on enlarging the pattern of the small boats in the same curved harbor shape. Color tones are also similar to the Raking Light piece.
In ‘After Dinner Walk’ a 36×36 acrylic on canvas 2015, I took a high key contrast take, shown above. But I was not satisfied with the result and revised it as the bright color contrasts were not resonating for me. See below.
After Dinner Walk, 36×36, acrylic and fabric on canvas. Final take.
The surface itself was built up with some fabric scraps to add more surface texture and change the imagery. I modified the figures walking along the beach to be more integrated with the whole landscape.
Also in 2015 ‘Looking Out’ 30×30 acrylic on canvas, (shown below) I utilized a higher color key using a bright green teal color in the focal area as well as a smoother surface texture. The color lends a more tropical feel to the harbor waters and the city-like ring of buildings brings a sense of a different location as well.
As I have shown here seemingly small changes can lead to large modifications and surely affects how a person relates to an art work. Simply going back to imagery that resonated with people has been a productive place for me to return to when thinking about what’s next on my studio wall.
If you have an experience with this idea as an artist or collector, I’d love to hear your thoughts.