SCRUMBLE — A Blog About Pastel Art
Scrumble is a pastel painting technique of lightly touching the surface; the result is visually stimulating and very textural. My blog adapts that technique of scrumble, lightly touching on art and the art of pastel painting.
Twisted Path, Asilomar at Monterey, CA
It has been a long trip, full of hills, plateaus, and lots of curves. Lots of rest stops, refueling breaks. A ton of maintenance. Some meet-ups with old friends, some making of new ones. Several stretches of dull and boring. An occasional high-flying hill to coast down. Pretty colorful in spots.
Double entendres? Of course!
So, are we there yet? Biking, traveling, tired-to-the-bone hike, Bill always has the same encouraging answer. "Almost half way there."
Art journey? It's the same: I'm almost half way there. Still learning, pushing, stretching.
Learning, as in just the tiniest touch of a Terry Ludwig pastel edge can create awesome cattails and wild grass.
Pushing, as in don't stop on the painting just yet. Take the contrasts and values further. Put more pressure on the pastel to model the form. Tone down some colors, jazz up the others.
Stretching, as in handling the color green in landscapes. I'm a people painter, love it, enjoy it, have fun with new ideas. Landscapes are the challenge, but in stretching through the learning curve, I'm beginning to enjoy painting those greens. I'm learning the value of grays, and the rich beauty of purples.
Am I there yet? You know the answer.Comment on or Share this Article →
He's An Artist
BACKGROUNDS CAN BE SIMPLE: PART 5
Standing by his own art entry, he glanced over at me with a "we're both artists" kind of smile. So exquisite, you know you're going to paint it.
The reference photo had a dark, no-interest background. Whatever colors I used in the background would ultimately affect everything I did in his face. With a faint idea that it should be simple but colorful, I side-stroked vivid pastels around the head placement. Then I washed, brushed and pushed around the pastel to stain the paper in a child-like way. I wanted to imply a brilliant light falling on his face, and the yellow worked. After the paper was dry, a couple of vertical strokes to indicate a doorway on the left keeps the eyes from sliding off the edge.
Another aha came when painting the face. I normally have a very light touch using the pastel. I wasn't satisfied with the modeling of the face, especially around the nose, so perhaps in aggravation I pushed a Terry Ludwig pastel firmly into the paper. The transformation was immediate - and gratifying.
In painting him, the artist taught me something important: I learned that when close to the end of a painting, extra pressure on the sticks - if using the right value and temperature - models and defines.
Very different handling of pastel for me. The face is defined, detailed, with the shirt and background loose and impressionistic.Comment on or Share this Article →
Enchanted Texas, Pastel, 12x16
What does it mean to "push the painting further?"
We've all heard stock phrases and had no idea of the meaning. In golf, my chief critic aka husband always advises: "hit down and through it." The concept has absolutely no meaning for me. I cannot visualize it or understand it, so it's an instruction I cannot follow. Until that magic moment when I can feel the hands, wrist cock, backswing, impact and follow through perform the elusive instruction, I remain a high handicapper.
So it goes in art: it is just as hard to define "push" the painting. But, once it happens, there's no doubt in your mind what you just did. Enchanted Texas was my April newsletter feature painting. It was an ok painting, it was finished. But up in the right side of my brain, I knew ... it needed pushing.
I had to take my own advice and not be afraid of "messing up."
Remedy: left brain analysis, a little time, spots of contrast and color pops, a subtle path, and a few more cacti.
Result: Enchanted Texas is stronger.
Compare the after painting at the top of this blog to the before painting on the right side.Comment on or Share this Article →
Amby Sings Janis
It's the teeny, tiny whisper strokes in finishing a face that take the most time. And yet they are the ones that really make the painting look like the person. They are the identity marks.
The painting Eloise at Dawn thought it would escape me. The profile of the nose and mouth, with the rim of light, were so specific to the model's face: they proved the hardest to find. I had to put the photo aside and relate the painting to how I remembered the model. When I did that, it was only a few minutes of carving the red background that Eloise at Dawn completed itself.
She inspired this 60 second video of my painted ladies. The quick lead-in snaps are fun Photoshop enhances of the actual painting.Comment on or Share this Article →
He's just laying there. What a pleasure watching him enjoy WHERE he is: soft grass, full sun, smells and sounds in the wind.
I want to go inside to do my "stuff," but my greater connection is to my dog and the contentment I can see in his face.
Watching him, a question resolved itself for me. What drives me to paint? The word emotion has always comes first to mind. That works with people, but a flower, a tree? Is it reaction? I kept folding words in, until one stopped the thinking: Connection.
Just as I felt toward Red and his body language, I experience a connection, a response, to what I paint. With figurative and portrait work, the eyes without question make the connection. It's easy to build the person around them.
Flowers and landscapes, though, where's the connection? First for me are intense shadows; they attract the eyes and pull me in. The flowing gesture of a tree limb, a show-stopper color, a unique composition, intertwining or bending of petals. Sometimes it's just sheer beauty.
Whatever aspect creates it, the thing that binds painting to an artist: connection. And WHERE I'm at now: full enjoyment of being an artist.Comment on or Share this Article →
Something in Red
BACKGROUNDS CAN BE SIMPLE: PART 3
Toned paper equals the simplest of backgrounds. Something in Red started that way, but took a life of its own.
Paint a face with mystery, a little touch of abandon. That was the concept for this pastel painting. A bright vivid red pastel found its way onto Wallis Sanded Paper; a Turpenoid wash melted the color, dripped down and created a background almost too pretty to paint anything over it.
With the model's dimples, smile, slant of the gaze, and carefree hair,
I could hardly wait to get started. After a careful drawing of the face, I applied dark pastels to the shadow areas. Fun and easy, using colors I wouldn't normally use for the face.
Turning to the lighter areas, however, I hit a roadblock. My advice: skip the red background if you are painting a fair-skinned person. It's hard to cool it down and light it up!
For this particular painting, because I wanted a riot of color, the red background succeeded. It's interesting, wild and sassy.
The Lori Morgan song, Something in Red, inspired this pastel painting, and continues my series of Painting the Songs. Listen to Lorrie's song on YouTube.Comment on or Share this Article →
Backgrounds Can Be Simple: Part 2
Simplifying the background in Gold Ornament was a stretch of imagination. This pastel painting started out with just the intent to use gold leaf: would it adhere to sanded paper and would it stand out surrounded by strong color?
The composition for Gold Ornament was inspired by a beautiful oil painting by Taeil Kim. He has a mastery over texture, color, composition and emotive work. I fell in love with the qualities of his painting "Waiting II." I wondered if a similar look could be achieved in a pastel painting.
After drawing the face on Wallis Sanded Paper, I applied gold leaf adhesive to the general area of the hair ornament and the most dominant ruffle. After waiting the recommended 20 minutes, the gold leaf would not stick to the paper. Now trial and error came into play. I reapplied adhesive and almost immediately the gold leaf. It is so wispy it took a delicate touch to press it in place. I wanted the ornament to be of no particular shape, to imply simply a dangle, so I had applied the adhesive in a very general area. I found that gently pressing and rubbing the gold leaf allowed it to catch the high areas of the sanded paper, in itself creating dimension.
I covered the upper background in a muted light green and (this calls for a big gasp!) completely rubbed it in. I love seeing the strokes of color, so I seldom rub in. This painting, however, needed a smooth look with no white showing through. To add visual interest, I scrumbled 4 same value greens, blues and violets into the background. Up close they are visible, step back and they excite the eye.
After painting the face and ruffles, I anguished through several techniques on the bottom third. The drips from a Turpenoid wash usually creates a leave-it-alone finish. Nope. I shaved pastel speckles and sprayed fixative. Nope. Massive strokes of color. Ugh! A brush just slightly wet with Turpenoid and a firm push down over that color. OK and done!
This one truly was an experiment. The concept was firmly in my mind from the beginning. The results did not fulfill my expectation; I had to rethink, change and adapt. And that's the beauty of my pastel medium: it allows that.Comment on or Share this Article →
Hide & Seek
Painting the background in figurative or portrait art blurs the issue of importance. Something has to be back there, behind the person. The eye expects it, anything from simple color to elaborate scenery. I love vignettes, those little capsules that capture a person and leave the background plain, undone. That's how I painted my beginning work. With practice and time, the faces got better, but the background stayed, well, undone.
Trying to overcome that deficiency, I attended a landscape workshop by Bob Rohm. What a great instructor he is, both with his skill and his time. But in figurative work, I still wanted the person to be center stage, simply supported by color or vague shapes.
Seth Havercamp wrote an excellent article in last year's spring Artists On Art Magazine. For the first time, I saw in print what I felt: "as my painting years progressed, I noticed that I struggled to finish paintings. Although I liked the concept of the backgrounds I chose to paint, they were impossible for me to finish. ... Somehow, they got in the way of the portrait and did not support the subject. I would do anything to keep from painting when it was time to 'fill in the rest.' " Reading this was like I suddenly got permission to simplify or abstract the background.
So for a while, I'll be trying different ways to showcase the figure but still create interest behind or around the person.
Hide & Seek begins the background series, with a transparent effect, fulfilling its title. Flowers surround a girl: she may be playing the child's game of hide and seek in a garden of riotous color; or maybe it's the flower playing the game, meeting and wrapping onto the girl's shirt. I wanted the live edge of the flower to meet itself as a design on the shirt. Watch this pastel painting progress with photos showing drawing/block-in, Turpenoid wash, and progression of color application on my FaceBook album.
How I created the concept in Photoshop Elements by overlaying two images.
- Opened a new blank file, using 16x12 inch dimensions
- Place command to add photo of flowers, and Opacity option to see through it
- Place command to add photo of the girl, and added layer mask to paint out all but her image
- Free Transform command to stretch and place images
The background series, second painting is almost finished. Simple, different, beautiful. Watch for it.Comment on or Share this Article →
Heart of Christmas, a tiny pastel painting
I'm repurposing these dreary, gray, cold, stay-inside winter days into organize and study!
- Deleted all those 300 plus emails that I was going to read or followup, but never did.
- Organized my just-throw-it-in-there desk drawers.
- Watching those wonderful instructional pastel videos on ArtistsNetwork. Just becoming aware of different techniques gives me choices.
- Updating email lists and art database, getting ready for an Artist Career Training class in 2013.
- Thinking, thinking, thinking: what do I want to paint in 2013; how do I conquer the marketing monster.
- Wondering: how much does age matter.
Grand Canyon, Pastel, 18x24
My favorite painting surface was out of stock — everywhere. I've relied on Wallis Sanded Paper for several years, but all online suppliers had it on backorder. To substitute, I purchased 5 of the large Canson Touch sanded boards, and boy did I hate it.
Trying to put the first layer of pastel on it was work. Subsequent layers no easier. Definitely not like Wallis, which allows first and many other layers to go on smoothly.
I put the Touch in the closet, deciding never to "touch" it again. But .... I don't like to be stymied and kept thinking: the only way I could use it would be for something that NEEDED a scratchy, textured surface. Not the figurative work that I love to do. Touch reminded me of the texture of rocks. Maybe it would paint that way.
"I will never try to paint the Grand Canyon. No way could I do it justice." That's what I had said, but what better rocks to try Touch than the Grand Canyon!
The pastel simply would not reach the surface; all strokes remained on the sanded peaks. Thinking about the smoothness of Wallis, I very lightly sanded Touch, and that softened the ridges. I blocked in the big shapes with pastel and applied a Turpenoid wash. The paper stained beautifully.
Now I had color, shapes and shadows, a good backbone to start the painting. The paper still did not take pastel smoothly, but I remembered another neat trick: foam packaging peanuts. Rubbing a foam peanut lightly into the pastel created a dense, beautiful layer, and using the grooved edges created textured patterns. As I continued to apply pastel, the surface became more receptive, a little smoother. In some areas, the canyon read ok with just the stained block-in; some areas in the distance just required a light stroke of pastel laid on its side. In the focal areas that needed detail, I kept working layers and different colors.
Grand Canyon is the result of working out a problem. It certainly became a learning experience: Stockpile Wallis!
Joking aside, Touch is surely a great product for some artists. For the techniques I use with pastel, it was work. I persevered until I found solutions: sanding it smoother, applying an underpainting, and blending with foam peanuts.Comment on or Share this Article →
She's Got You
I am a pastelist. From the very first touch. Why try another medium when pastel creates such depth and beauty?
A technique I especially love is scrumble. Laying the side of the pastel on the paper, the pastel is lightly stroked over a different color. The textured or sanded surface shaves tiny particles and deposits them on the surface. These little bits of color sit on the top, acting like a prism to refract the light. The eye dances with excitement, seeing these layers of color. One might think the colors are mismatched or wildly chosen. And that might be true. But step back from the painting, and the colors blend or contrast, beautiful either way.
My newsletter, SCRUMBLE, uses the same technique: I lightly touch upon my newest painting, a golf tidbit, and a great travel spot.
- For October, I painted "She's Got You," a touching song by Patsy Cline that has such a great story line the painting composition was easy.
- GRRRRR has been my favorite expression for several months. On the Golf Channel it means Greens in Regulation. For the average lady golfer, it means trouble. But we can play smarter.
- Taking a trip through New England in the fall - who wouldn't want to!
- All scrumbled together in one neat newsletter. Read past issues.
Have a SCRUMBLE with your morning coffee on the 16th of every month.Comment on or Share this Article →
Cool Koi, Pastel, 18x24
I'll stop now, but this painting taught me a lot: Humility, perseverance, linear and personal perspective, color management, rethinking, and maybe a few bad words. I'm not sure how my Wallis sanded paper could have taken so much pastel and so many brush offs!
One special help I used frequently was a tip from a mentor, Frank Gerrietts. Frank looked at paintings with his hand and fingers curled together creating a tunnel, positioned on his right eye, left eye closed. A telescopic pinhole. He would move that tiny view all over a painting, and smile or shake his head.
The hand-scope blocks out all extraneous input, limiting the view to only one small area of a painting. It forces or allows you to more easily see what's good, what's bad, what relates, what works, and what's got to go!
Strongly influenced by Mexican culture, Frank thought of his work as "expressionism," rather than abstract. He passed away recently, but I think he's still listening to the music that infused every idea he captured in his work.Comment on or Share this Article →
Eyes to the Future, Pastel, 24x18
I first started drawing and painting when we lived out of the country. We traveled a lot, and it was my first time to see other cultures, to explore the differences between life in the U.S. and the look and customs of other people. So I took photos, lots of them (before digital!). The memories associated with these prints are still vivid and alive, so they become my reference for a new painting.
Looking at photos after a trip, I realized that what I love are the candid shots, just a little glimpse in a person's life, dressed in their daily clothing, what I previously would have called a costume. That's hard to find in a live pose.
Because I do work from my photos, I especially appreciate articles that are as well written and insightful as this one by William Schneider. He explains why painting from life is of such value. Knowing the deficiencies of a photo, I try to look beyond the flat, outlined contours, and to look through the shadows. I apply reverse psychology on the camera: if this is what the camera does, then I must do this.
Painting from life would no doubt improve my work all around, but if I choose to work from photos, then information provided by great artists will be my gentle assistant.Comment on or Share this Article →
Cool Koi (detail of work in progress)
Usually, normally, generally, almost never. I just wouldn't. Create a painting to "match" something in a room.
But this pastel painting of koi broke the self-inflicted rule.
Several years ago I designed our living room to feature paintings and crafts of Africa. A recent water leak gave me an excuse for a redo, into a lighter, more casual, Asian look. Now the room NEEDED a new painting, and koi with just the right colors seemed perfect. I combined several photos of koi to create a colorful blend of fish just skimming the water.
The best painting in the world? Not hardly. Do I like it? Very much. And the neat thing? It just about created itself. Quick and easy. And fun. Maybe that's the lesson of trying something new.Comment on or Share this Article →
"Where's the soul; where is the heart?" That was the first criticism ever directed to me, one I always remember. I had practiced drawing by recreating my own graphite sketches of the famous Leonardo da Vinci self-portrait, the Daniel Greene painting of Eleanor Roosevelt, and a couple of newspaper photos. My sketches still look pretty good to me, but I can now see that that's all they were: copies of how someone else perceived a person. They were not MY feelings after observing a person.
A great article written by Ron Hicks answers the questions about heart and soul in the beautiful online magazine Artists on Art. He opened his thought process with candid ideas supported by his work in progress. Ron discusses the basics of great paintings — value, shape, edges, and color. But beyond those techniques, he stresses the absolute need for cohesion of the large shapes. As he holds those shapes together, he is free to let the emotional charge flow into his painting. Maybe the title of the article says it all: The Emotional Painter in Me.
So, I'm still trying, years later, to answer my first teacher, and let my own emotional reaction paint the picture.Comment on or Share this Article →
TriniMon. A captivating expression from Trinidad.
Paint what you love. I've read several blogs and articles this year making that statement in different ways. It's made me think about how I've struggled with some of my pastel paintings, which ones, and why.
When I paint faces, I feel total enjoyment in my art. I respond to their emotion and character. I can see the planes and understand the shadows. The face is easy. Not that I always paint it perfectly, but it's easy.
When I have to put the other stuff in, painting becomes work. Backgrounds and landscapes, creating depth on a 2D surface; that's hard. This past year I've created several paintings of my golf course. Now that's really hard: so much green, not much contour. A few landscapes have come off my easel. And I've done a number of flower paintings.
While I might not have enjoyed painting these subjects, they were teachers. I struggled. I learned. I'm still learning. And they surely make me appreciate the joy of getting back to painting faces — what I love.
Bill Davidson has an excellent blog post in OPA today. He believes that "nothing is clearer to me than that, if the process is enjoyable, I will paint more often and better."Comment on or Share this Article →
Williams Reflections, Pastel, 16x12
Reflections on buildings — normally we don't even see them, just pass on by. But when one reflection finally catches your eye, you become attuned to them, start watching for them. Because . . . they really are beautiful. They create an imaginary cityscape that changes as the light moves throughout the day. It's like looking at something that's not real, but is: reversed images, distortions of line, shape, and color.
The Williams Tower by the Houston Galleria is a slender 909 feet above ground. It leads to the Williams Water Wall, an impressive curved structure that cascades tons of water; it's the No. 1 photographed spot in Houston. But, after walking through its windy mist, I was drawn to what I saw in the Williams Tower itself.
I loved the way its glass surface rounded, twisted, and distorted the nearby buildings. Painting Williams Reflections was a short diversion from painting people, but now that I actually SEE so many reflections, perhaps it's the beginning of a new series: Houston's skyline captured in reflections. If you like that idea, let me know. Interrupt the quiet in my studio.
Pepsi Man, Pastel 18x24
Pepsi Man was finished and photographed. But something in the face bothered me. I didn't know what, so didn't how to fix it.
As I was preparing the digital image of Pepsi Man for CD entry in a competition, my mind wandered: How are jurors looking at the images, now that they are digital. (Remember how all entries used to be slides?) Staring at the image on my monitor, I realized the juror could now enlarge certain areas to get a better peek at how the artist handled his medium and color. Do they really do that? I don't know, but it became an instant learning tool for me.
When I zoomed in on the eyes, I got a big shout out as to what was wrong! Fixing it was easy with a few simple swipes of pastel. The eyes now looked in the same direction. As I stepped back, away from the painting, Pepsi Man actually seemed to have changed personality, right on the paper.
I hope you can benefit from this "Voila" moment. And that you will be more careful than I, and make sure you photograph that last minute change. I forgot to do it!Comment on or Share this Article →
Two Tee, Pastel, 12x16
My deck has a beautiful view every day, overlooking a lake, fairway and green. Last night Pecan Grove transformed the view: people relaxing on the hill behind the green and lining the fairway, waiting.
Long before the official fireworks began, the sky bloomed sporadically from all directions. I let my mind wander, and wonder, what was I really seeing and hearing?
- Close your eyes and it's the sounds of a battlefield. Loud booms like canonfire, crackles and sizzles of distant artillery, pffts as the long trails of smoke lifted up, staccato pops of firecrackers. Reminders of what it must have been like in the battles that won our 4th of July celebration.
- The freedom of doing something that's normally forbidden.
- Families and communities, together for the day.
- Oohs and ahs of appreciation and surprise.
- Just how much money is consumed for two second flashes.
- Open your eyes and it's what we were waiting for: brilliance of light and color creating art in the sky.
All of it amounts to the freedom we share in AmericaComment on or Share this Article →
Pecan Lake, donated to Rally for the Cure
The golf ball flew into the air, really into the air, then landed in the sand. "That was a good shot, except for that."
Did I actually say those words? Does sounds dumb, huh? Yes and no. My fairway shots always just skim the ground, never make that beautiful air lob. This one, the direction was off, but the ball was up. Major accomplishment.
How does this relate to art? "It's a good painting, except for that corner," (or that color or the background or . . . whatever your reoccurring problem is). So, just as I will hit another thousand practice balls to perfect that airborne shot, I will work through my painting problem. I will continue to question what's wrong? how do I fix it. I'll face my painting nemesis, and conquer it. I WANT to get rid of the "except for that."Comment on or Share this Article →
Red Glow on the Bayou
Are you ready? Those words excite Red, our dog. He knows it's time for his leisurely morning walk. His enthusiasm never fails to bring a smile. His world centers around this time that he knows belongs to him.
For me, are you ready? is my mental cue that the chores are done, exercise is out of the way, I've again tackled my golf score, and sunlight floods my studio. And I am ready to paint. I can allow myself to be transported to a selfish zone.
My world centers around that 16x20 surface in front of me. Did I make mistakes on it yesterday or do the colors interact perfectly? Is the composition slightly off or is the slope of the shoulder just right? Should I consider it finished or do I dare to push the pastel even further?
Maybe that 16x20 is just white; it's waiting for a new drawing. That's the hardest time for me, the get-going-on-it time. But after those first proportional marks darken that white surface, when I now have something to relate the next mark to, the process flows. And the rest is fun.
In that time of studio solitude, the brain, eyes, and hands constantly make decisions and adjust, and the answer is, “Yes, I was ready.”Comment on or Share this Article →
I believe that, rather than coincidence, it is a melding of decisions and choices that influence each other. Those "accidental happenings" set us upon a path, maybe a new direction.
During our time in the Middle East, my husband and I traveled twice to India; first to Delhi and Agra, then Madras and the South Coastline. I love the inlaid marble, the beautiful silk rugs, pashmina shawls and ikat that came home with us. And I love the memory of color and activity. Lately my painting muse seems enchanted again with India: the pastel sticks have found their way to the faces of India, with the Pepsi man and the boy mechanic.
Now, a great movie: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful. Just a glimpse of a commercial had led to, "I want to see the Marigold one," not knowing exactly what that was. Was it another coincidence that this movie was set in India? Nope, I think it was part of the twisting, winding road that leads a certain destination. At this point I do not know what that destination is, but don't I love an adventure! So I think I'll continue to concentrate on painting India, its many sights and people.
And who knows, maybe I'll finally be confident enought to paint the beautiful Taj.
P.S. the movie was delightful, heartwarming, with a feel good ending. It's not a special effects or exaggerated movie; all the people and scenes depict what we saw for real in our travels in India. Loved it all.Comment on or Share this Article →
Memorial Weekend Was: A little golf, a little John Wayne and a little painting. But along with the painting came an artistic eye-opener.
I had several unfinished paintings of the Neches River bayou. Painted on Wallis Sanded Paper, the layers of pastel can be easily brushed off, which was my intent. I plan to start a series of paintings from our India trips, and since that white Wallis paper was already covered with luscious colors of pastel, I wouldn't need to tone them.
But in looking at the unfinished bayous, all the same scene, I thought it would be interesting to just complete them, each in a different color palette. It was not only interesting and fun, it was a learning expose.
- I learned that changing the color scheme can make: different mood, different light and shadows, different reflections.
- I learned that the masses could rule: they did not need numerous patches of grass, flowers and twigs.
- I got a better understanding of creating depth, receding the ground with overlaps and thinner strips of color.
- I reinforced the importance of shadows and using darks.
I have always been a step-back artist, looking at the whole composition from a distance, but painting in this "new" way gave a bigger importance to the step-back. Standing close to the surface, as is necessary holding a short stick of pastel, limits the vision area, making it too easy to think detail is needed.
I also learned the freedom and quickness of painting a 9x12 massed-in landscape as compared to the many hours involved in portrait and figurative work.
It was a fun, liberating learning experience. I actually want to give a shout out to Catherine Anderson, who posts small impressionistic landscapes frequently on FaceBook; I have admired them for a long time. Perhaps she was muse to my subconscious.Comment on or Share this Article →
Hot Day Cool Drink, Pastel, 18x24
Does a portrait or figurative piece have to have a detailed background, or can it be abstract? I love painting people but I've never enjoyed "putting an environment behind or around them." To me, the person, character, gesture and emotion are the only important elements. So it was with joy that I read Seth Haverkamp's article in the beautiful ArtistsOnArt online magazine. It was almost like I now have permission, or excuse, or justification to forego all the hours trying unsuccessfully to perfect a background.
As an example, the foreground and person were complete in Hot Day Cool Drink, but I couldn't resolve what was behind the subject. The painting went through these transformations.
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The painting got better, but the struggle with the background surely took away from the enjoyment of creating the Pepsi man. Guess how my next figurative work with be finished!