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Monday, January 6, 2014

Wabi-Sabi Process

Coming Through It        Cold Wax/Oil on Wood Panel   24" x 16"

Sometimes it's the process that has a wabi-sabi quality, not just the product. I finished this cold wax painting recently while going through a very difficult time due to the serious illness of a loved one. This piece of wood and paint has undergone so many changes which corresponded with the changes I went through over the several months between starting and completing the piece. 

In the beginning I had a nice multi-layered and multi-colored abstract, mostly in a blue gray. This color was inspired by colors my grandmother used in her house. Memories of her were inspired by going to my uncle's house with my cousins after his funeral in September. While there I opened the large secretary desk that used to be my grandmother's and there was her sweet fragrance. I thought of her a lot after that and made a painting with her colors, though it didn't seem quite finished.

In an effort to finish the piece, I somehow altered it completely. It became more green, and I didn't like it much. My daughter in law came over and I slapped some burnt sienna on the piece just to show her how the process worked. I then added some cheesecloth and some white and buff.

This was during the time when my loved one's illness was causing me great grief. The piece turned into a bleak and misty landscape. I left it for a while.

Again, in trying to finish the piece I changed it. I pulled off the cheesecloth. I was in emotional distress and scraped and tore at and slathered the painting as I grieved. I yelled. After I had emoted enough, I quickly chose a yellow paint/wax mixture and put it on. I incised and scribbled and scraped back. Bits of the previous layers showed through and I saw a new positive and strong message in the piece. That's when I knew I would be all right no matter what happened.

Have you found yourself in a similar process when art making?

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