The Spinning Orbit of “Come Undone”

September 2023

I take pictures of my paintings as I work on them, showing the steps of a completed work of art.

“What is your process”?

People often ask me about the story behind a painting.

I take pictures of my paintings as I work on them that show the steps of a work’s evolution.

Here I share “Come Undone,” my most recent painting to be captured in its various incarnations.

I had just bought five 72×72 inch canvases and was excited to start one. It was too big and unwieldly for the easel, so I had to lean it against the wall.

I like to start all my paintings with a coat of cadmium red, a strong, powerful, lively color. Sometimes it’s completely hidden in the final painting and sometimes it peeks through.

Adding the cobalt blue gave me a bolt of positive energy and softened the black lines.

Even at this early stage, I was working with two shape ideas, the blobby amorphous ones and the vertical lines.

As I applied more color, I looked for the shapes made when the colors collided and bled into each other. I also focused on the values: where are my lights and my darks.

Here the shapes were distant, not unified, in two separate hemispheres. How were the shapes going to unite?

I started seeing shapes emerge. Others will need to disappear in order to become an aesthetically pleasing painting.

I hated to lose the salmon, but something had to take a back seat for it to become a choreographed dance.

Off the Easel: Come Undone

I added light blue in circular strokes and created a single, embracing shape, a loose circle. It became a spinning ball, with a nucleus of energy.

For a title, I remembered “Come Undone,” the name of a song by Duran Duran that I always wanted for a painting. This was it.

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