Sunday, February 7, 2016

Revisiting the Value of Revision and Editing

"Upon Stopping by the Snowy Woods One Evening...."

No... the words that I have used in  my lead in this post are not my own. They denote a significant "borrowing" from my past. Robert Frost would be happy that his "word landscape" might compel me to:

"tell this [his and my story] with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:"

Daylight has increased and now lasts long enough after our evening meal... that I can delay my daily three kilometer walk until that time in the day. Winter has suddenly suddenly reappeared leaving a skiff of two inches covering the landscape... and the coolish air and wind did much to freshen and cleanse the spirit as well.

The sun had just dipped below the western horizon as I entered the pine and oak strewn lane that passes along the river's edge. The silence was immense... the sense of "Oneness" with Creation absolute as I entered this solemn cathedral grove. The stillness was scarcely broken... except for the rattle of frozen oak fingers and the sighing of the arched white pine arms... each in their individual woodland musical response to the lightly gusting northwest wind.

I paused... again as is my usual practice on this walk to rest a while... seated alone on a large chunk of pinkish-red granite. It is here that I review my day and possible actions for tomorrow. Here ... in the uncluttered sanctity of this time and space, I see more clearly and can envision necessary change... without distraction. You see... I am highly distract able and impulse-driven by nature. But I have learned to use this follow up process to edit my thinking and actions to make them more effective.

As is my usual practice in writing my blog posts... I usually commence the writing process immediately after the painting process is completed. I had already fully written the words to describe this project... just completed during the past week. But in thinking about beginning this morning's "editorial session"... using last evening's thoughts, I decided on a whole new approach - one less didactic... one less bent upon teaching and instructing.

It is a departure for me because I have viewed the sharing of my thoughts along with the painting necessary for clarity of my purpose. That may satisfy me... but perhaps it confines... or even bores my fellow artist readers. In reading over the intended post content for "Blending Retrospection With Introspection.. to Form a New Direction"... I felt that it tended too much to be an autobiographical romp through my artistic life ... past to present.

So I have decided to use this format to replace the very lengthy (boring) earlier version. I hope to let the images unfold the process that I used to complete this project... that has been for too long... an a back burner. Now ... the story is told... perhaps in fewer of my words ... and in those that you might understand more fully - because they are your own!

The post will consist of three consecutive stages over the next three days. Each will consist of a picture accompanied by two sentences. Hope you enjoy this abbreviated approach!

Stay tuned...
Good painting... to ALL!

Day One... Stage One

This post began as most small paintings do... lay in on a toned canvas or panel. This one is a black acrylic toned birch cradle board  measuring 10 x 12 inches. 

This is the "revised" and refined version of "Island Sunbather" - oil on cradle board 10 x 12 inches

  Day Two... Stage Two

While I looked at the single panel overnight... it occurred to me that I could possibly extend the single panel to include a vertical addition of a home... thus extending the scope of the project by the simple introduction of another element. The challenge in doing so was to meld the two seamlessly.. and without compromising what I intended in the first panel. I used white chalk on the black toned panel and washed in turps values to create shapes.


Here below... is the finished version of... the new two panel Diptych.


                                                            Stage Three... Day Three

While the diptych pleased me... something inside me... that had remained unsaid pushed me to consider a third phase in this project. But more than ever... the trick would be to knit a third piece into the diptych format without cluttering or undoing the balance already created. 

I decide to complete a notan ink sketch to prepare and consider such a direction... without losing too much time in following down the road too far. This strategy provided an immediate "green light" for me to proceed... cautiously. 

Here is  final left hand panel at the preliminary the lay in stage... just a framework to build upon and to edit and make revisions

I will post the final outcome of this stage in tomorrow's post to complete the project.

Stay tuned...


  1. I have to admit, I was missing the ruddy coloring on the bottom of the green barn and on the roof - but then you gave me an extra little treasure to take my mind off that with this homestead. The green color disturbs me - but in a good way - like, now why did no one else every paint a green barn so fresh with the promise of spring on a winter's day? Lovely work and great diptych. As for the words, well, in reading the first and second paragraphs after the words in red, I realize you paint with words as much as you do with paint so I hope you don't become too succinct :) Have a wonderful week!

  2. Good afternoon Rhonda!... I do appreciate your visits and comments because they are thoughtful and are obviously based upon your observations and reactions to both the images and words in each post.

    This is the goal that I seek in creating the post. I try to write in such a way that my thought and painting processes are clearly expressed - that they encourage exactly the response that you mention.

    This post represents an experiment of sorts to see if I can reduce word content... and still maintain clarity and interest for the viewer/reader. I tend to "splain things" beyond the comfort of some folks I converse with... so this is perhaps a "middle-of-the-road" attempt to lessen that discomfort.

    Perhaps "a picture (or two)is indeed worth a thousand words"... HA HA!! Let's see how this is received...

    Glad that the diptych format added further interest and insights for you!

    Thanks for dropping by and for taking the time to respond!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  3. I'm loving the sweep of extra space with the two additional paintings. It's magical to see it unfurl as you go and a treat to see the notan too. I feel sometimes that I can see inside an artists head more clearly through their sketches - they always give me a good insight to the paintings.

    As for your word weaving - I enjoy that too 'Mr Wordsmith' I often feel like I am there on site or in the studio with you. It's generous of you to include so much each post.

    Best wishes.

  4. Good morning Lisa!... Your observant and valid response to my painting and post assert that my abbreviated framework did in fact achieve the goal that I had hoped for.

    Planning in making art... is as essential as in every other aspect of life. Not only does it offer the opportunity to enter the artist's head and world... it also affords the artist considerable space to play before getting down to a specific task. The notan often optimizes the possibility for increased success.

    I am happy that my "language" supports my painting passion. They have always been friends over the years... and love each other's company! HA HA!!

    Thanks for your gracious comments and visit Lisa!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,