I’m working on the next series of Topiary Cats.
With the exception of the first series, they are all based around a theme. This is important because it ties them all together. it also keeps me focused because otherwise I am all over the place, and then I can’t think about them properly. The theme is very much like having a road to walk on. it gives direction.
I got my next “theme” when I was almost done with the Gravity Towers. Back in the Spring I did a painting of the first image in pastel. It didn’t work. I tried very hard to make it work, but it just didn’t, even though the concept was good. So I put it aside for a while and waited.
Ideas are like this sometimes. They need time to live in our minds and grow. And earlier this month, I had great clarity on this next series. And they need to be layered oil paintings. Not pastel.
Currently I have 5 out of 7 images in my sketchbook. 4 paintings are already about halfway done. It is a lot of work, and it has been a while since I did layered oils. The thinking is different than working alla prima. They require advance planning. It is also a little different than previous series, where I would not start the next until the previous was finished. Now I am working on 5 paintings simultaneously. Different paintings have different needs, and as artists we have to be open to that and adjust our process accordingly.
Everything we do contributes to our art. So my figure drawing sessions help my plein air, my plein air helps my studio work, my alla prima studies help my plein air. Looking at art- modern and historical- contributes as well. My sketchbook helps keep my mind straight. Pieces of all the practices find their way into my imaginative work.