Well, I am finished with the large canvas I started over three weeks ago. It is the largest piece in size I’ve ever attempted by quite a bit at 54″ by 84″ which I often found intimidating at times, as I freely admitted here. But that intimidation and fear faded over the weeks as the painting evolved, moving from the darkness in which it began to the vibrant brightness of the finished product. This shift in tone mirrored my own shift in my feelings for the painting. I began with a fearful anxiety that began to ease with each new layer of color added. I began to feel a lightness in myself as the piece began to find its unity and rhythm and a sense of confidence when it began to start taking on a life of its own as it neared completion.
It was interesting to see how its domination of the studio space changed. At first, its size and darkness made it seem at times like a big canvas eclipse blocking out and absorbing all incoming light. But near the end it bagan to have its own glow, seeming to give off more light than it absorbed. Even after the large floodlight under which I work was turned off, its glow cut through the hazy darkness. Those moments of seeing that really struck me and gave me a real sense that it was becoming what I hoped for it.
As the final strokes went on to the Red Tree that stands above the lake, bringing the piece into a state of completion, it began to move completely into its own realm, its own life. I felt like a parent watching their child move out of their home and into their own life. The influence of the parent is evident but there is a point where the child moves on, no longer dependent on the parent. It is a moment filled with both the joy of pride and the sadness of loss.
Like this parent, I feel both of these emotions. I am proud of how this painting has come around and grown into something strong and viable but sad that my time with it has come to an end. Well, close to an end. I will spend the next few months with it, making little tweaks here and there. Nothing large. Just a tiny rounding of the edges here and a smoothing of the line there.
I’m calling this painting The Internal Landscape. I will discuss this at a later date along with some other observations about it. But for now, I’m going to simply stand back and take it all in again.