Hot Mess: An Experimental Painting

Some paintings are pure experimentation. This one is four experiments on top of each other.

Four failures make a success!

It started with me trying to make a master copy of Van Gogh’s sunflowers. I got nowhere even close. I think I have the wrong pigments. The ones he used were older, the newer ones blend differently. So I have to do more work on that. You can see the sunflowers left over towards the center of the painting.

I set the painting aside because I wasn’t happy with my sunflowers. A few days later I was curious how fast turpenoid would burn when mixed with paint. I put a few holes through the canvas and had some fun.

Later my hands really wanted to destroy something. So I took apart an old guitar tuner I had. The internals had cool electronics that made me feel feelings. I decided to screw it into the stretchers of the canvas.

Suddenly the painting started coming together, and I put it at the prow of my drawing desk.

The last experiment was motivated by another visit to the Blick store. They have R&F pigment sticks, which are essentially giant crayons filled with oil paint. Not wanting to be too Harold and the Purple Crayon, I got a Quindacone Red. That was the last part of the puzzle. Those pigment sticks are a lot of fun, you can really jab and slash with them. That made the red around the edges.

And somehow it turned out pretty cool!

Take your place of honor at the prow of my drawing desk and together we will rule this world.

Here’s what I learned: I was not really a fan of this painting until it was over halfway done. Before that it was a throwaway practice canvas. But I had fun with the process, and that made the end result good. If you are having fun, you make better art.

It just goes to show, that you should keep experimenting, keep having fun, and never count a weird painting out: it could turn out to be a hot mess.

Keep experimenting, people.