Thursday, May 28, 2015

Empty - by John Kelley

"Empty" , 20" x 30", Oil on Panel
by John Kelley

Just about everything in this painting was experimental.  I have something I am after that I really don't know how to explain.  I can see it in my head but I have not really been able to work it out with words.  The things I can say about it are vague:  I want to emphasize the minimal aspects,  the foundations that hold the idea together.  I've found this to be easier to do when I'm using just pen and ink in a very loose way.  Usually this idea hinges on establishing key dark accents that hold the composition and drawing together.  I feel like I lost that in this painting and it is the continuing problem of being afraid to leave things overly abstract.  I was also shooting for a very strong two color dominant painting (the photo distorts this by over saturating the blues, pinkish grey-green was what I was shooting for).  This got lost in the photograph - as my eyes change I'm often left wondering if what I've painted is what I see in the actual painting or what I see in a photo of the painting.  I'm often very excited about posting a work until I photograph it.... I then start thinking burn pile.

One other new experiment was a putty knife, which in hindsight, is responsible for some of the areas that look a little muddy.  It was sitting in my studio ( I've never used it for painting before) and I thought I would give it a whirl.  I will use it again, but hopefully with a little more restraint.

I have posted some earlier versions of this on Instagram.  I'm happy with where it ended but there was a freshness to the earlier stages that may have made better paintings if I had stopped there.