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The way I make art depends on the kind of art I am making. Art is a process, not a thing (a whole other discussion) and I constantly experiment with different methods and techniques. For the interested reader I have added an approximate "percentage time + percentage significance" combined number/index to more accurately convey how this works:
50% of the painting: my life long orientation to the most important and interesting things in life, none of which you can actually see directly, you can only see their effects. Eg: Love, hope, courage, persistence, time, space, spacetime, most forms of energy, etc. I am constantly experiencing and thinking about these things . . . constantly . . . and about how one could render some aspects of these things visible . . .
15% : preparation of the background. Since I am interested in the truth of spacetime (there is no such thing as just time or just space because they are inextricably inter-related) I build three dimensional models (of foam board) of houses (with "rooms" or rectilinear cubicles) , cut out from each room curved holes (out of the walls and floors), so that you can look through a room to another series of rooms or look down through the floor to another series of rooms . . . a mixture of rectilinear and curvilinear space. I then light the roofless house from above or from the side with colored light, and take a digital photo of some interesting angle or view. This is then drawn onto the canvas. So the background looks dimensional because it IS a representation of a three dimensional structure. This is one layer of the compostion.
15% : layering on of the rest of the composition. This is critical, because if the composition (of the thing you want to paint) doesn't "work" or "look right" or "look good" (an artist's judgement), the painting will NEVER look right, will never work. I draw the composition over the background. The layers, usually three fairly complete paintings, have to work together. The painting is now 80% complete, but still you cannot "see" it. This "step" can be very exciting. As Seneca, the Roman senator once wrote, "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult". So daring with the composition is necessary, fun, somewhat scary, and exciting.
10% : painting the painting, fun at times, laborious at times. I paint the composition and the background simultaneously. I have to repaint many segments over and over with different shades (values) of different or of the same color (hue) to make them "work" together. There is no such thing as a color in isolation. All colors (or at least your perception of them) is heavily, mightily influenced by the colors around it. Change one color of even a very small part of the painting and you change the whole thing. Sounds stupid and preposterous, but it is true. And you have to "push and pull" different parts of the painting (pulling some elements into more prominence and pushing other elements into a more subtle less prominent domain). When you finally get it right, it looks good, and this is an incredibly good feeling. As Meister Eckert (a 15th century mystic and theologian) once wrote, "only the hand that erases can write the true thing)
5% : meeting the needs of the painting. This is where, everything above, all the feeling and thinking to the contrary notwithstanding, the painting has IT'S needs, and you have to meet them to make the whole thing work. This means changing some things around.
5% : curing. I leave the painting, and come back to it again and again, after several days or weeks and look at it. The painting isn't different, you are. You walk around the corner, see the painting and IMMEDIATELY see what you could not see before, that there is a problem with thus and such or with a part or several parts of it (confusing or unclear passages, emphasis in the wrong place). After a while, usually several weeks, the artwork looks strong, looks OK. then comes photographing the work (before varnishing it, as the varnish can create a sheen picked up by the camera as white), making a reproduction of it (with the original right there to color correct the reproduction), then varnishing, then framing. The REASON you frame a painting, is that unlike an object you might hang on the wall (such as a brass Spanish stirrup or plate), a painting is NOT an object, but rather an illusion, an image, and the frame separates the painting from the wall and other objects, like a window frame . . . a window into an experience.