Katy and I took the kids to St Augustine to visit my best friend Rob Cottone at his shack on the beach. I took a photo of him and the crazy sky behind him inspired me to start a new canvas. I’ve actually started working on this at the house. I’ve never painted in a clean, air conditioned environment before. Not sure that I like painting in these conditions, so I’ll be interested to see how long it lasts.
I actually like how this looks at this exact stage.
I put about 4 hours into it last night, reconfiguring his head and trying to decide on the skin color. I used an Ebony pencil on top of the acrylic. I usually paint over my pencil work, but I decided to put the pencil layer on top. There are some interesting possibilities, so for now I’m experimenting with techniques. It’s pretty ugly at this stage and another thing that’s beginning to bug me is that it’s a 36″ x 24″ canvas and it feels rather small, or maybe, my brushes feel too big.
I got really disgusted with this canvas, so I tucked it away for many months and worked on a few other projects. Today (1/5/13) I put it back on the wall at my studio (I knew the AC environment wouldn’t work) and decided to start over. Big Hondo and Chisholm were visiting me at the studio and they stared at me in disbelief as I painted over the entire canvas with this beautiful Dove Blue house paint. It felt good to erase the horrible image I’d begun. I thought that if I enlarged the figure that it might make a better portrait. We’ll see.
1/5/13 – I got a few more hours into the second version when I decided this isn’t going to work for me. Rob is going to be 50 this year and he deserves a better portrait than this! I can’t wait to paint over this canvas again.
1/31/13 – So, I put up a new piece of canvas the same size as my recent Red Self Portrait and gessoed it and penciled in the sketch. I really feel like this is going to work. I love working at this scale and I love drawing in pencil.
2/3/13 – I really wanted to continue developing the pencil work and leave it as a drawing, but I decided to add color. I’ll probably regret it later.
2/5/13 – A couple of hours of adding a very wet wash and then some dry brushing of the dark areas. Not bad for the first night of painting. It’s off to a good start.
2/28/13 – I spent 2 hours staring at the canvas before I even squeezed out a blob of paint. A few more hours of painting and I’m pretty sure that I won’t finish this in time for his birthday.
3/11/13 I missed his birthday and the canvas is still not done. I’m really frustrated because there is so much time between brushstrokes. I worked on the background, modeled the face a bunch and added the mermaid. I wasn’t sure if I would or not, but the main reason for the portrait was because of the mermaid statue! I’m losing it. While I was waiting for parts to dry I painted over the original 36″ x 24″ canvas with a thick layer of the same blue. I’ll probably do another self portrait.
3/25/13 I taped off his head to get messy with the white in an effort to make the sky stormy and interesting. Worked on the mermaid a bit too.
4/1/13 – This is a special anniversary date for Rob. I hoped I could get it done by now, since I missed his birthday, but this thing is tormenting me and I’m not sure I’ll ever finish it. As I stare at the canvas I am regretting the fact that I painted over the pencil. I think it was a pretty killer drawing, but a pretty awful painting. Remind me next time to trust my instincts.
4/8/13 It’s already steamy hot and mosquito infested in the studio. The fans are on full blast and I’m wearing jeans in 92° from 6PM – midnight. This is an act of love. A dirty, forbidden love, but love, and also an act, now that I think of it. Will I ever find the end to this painting? Katy thinks I’m being too critical.
Do I dare paint over this and start over a 4th time?