Artist Diaries: Terracotta pots get added and a question to ponder

This week, I spent my time adding more detail to the dining area, the top section of the middle wall and started to add the terracotta pots in the foreground.
This week, I spent my time adding more detail to the dining area, the top section of the middle wall and started to add the terracotta pots in the foreground.

I am now at the point of the painting where the anxiety level starts to climb. In the beginning of a painting, it is easy to add a stroke here or there and see significant improvements in the painting. There is also a freedom since the painting is still in its infancy to experiment and see what works and if it doesn’t, no worries, it wasn’t like what you painted over was of particular quality anyways.

However, I am at the point with this painting where there are parts of it I have fallen in love with. Perhaps this painting looks average to others, but to me, there are certain areas of the painting I really like. The fountain has, over many layers achieved a certain complexity in texture that I desired. The area where the ground meets the middle section of the walls was done in a moment of spontaneity and I love the strokes of dark umber, grayish blue and hints of yellow on this special part of the canvas. I also like the electrical plug that is merely a couple of specks of white, gray and black that Clint, upon look at the painting from far away after a couple of moments exclaimed, “Is that an electrical outlet?!” It was a moment of triumph as I grin and chuckled a little that such a small detail was noticed.

It is this phase of my oil painting that has me consulting Lee more often than usual in this week’s art class. I want to make sure I have another set of eyes and judgment checking to see if the latest strokes I have added visually improve the painting. It gets harder to tell the closer the painting reaches completion. The addition of the terracotta pots in the foreground is also making me nervous as I really don’t want to get them too big or in the wrong location and have to patch up the background and start over again.

During class, one of the parents of another student dropped by and commented that my painting made him feel happier which I thought was quite the compliment. He also noted, “You like painting buildings don’t you?”

I had not really thought much about the subject of my painting, I just picked photos from my travels which I thought I would be inspired to paint. It is true that my last painting was of a red barn and a dominant element of this painting are the tall buildings in Rome. However, with this only being my forth painting, I really didn’t have a statistically significant data set to say I really like painting building. Admittedly, the next painting I am thinking of painting is the Lucy Stern Theater in Palo Alto. I took a photo of it as I was walking out after seeing ‘Rabbit Hole’ by Palo Alto Players. I have always loved the architecture of the building and thought I would paint it.

Perhaps it was an astute observation. We will see.

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