Michael Divine

Happy Accidents

I assembled the stretcher bars to the desired size (18 x 14) and cut an appropriately sized rectangle of canvas. With pliers and staple gun I stretched it around the bars and then proceeded to gesso it. Once it appeared to be dry, I brushed on a background wash of yellow orange azo, burnt sienna, and a dash of dioxanine purple. But there was a several square inch spot in the middle of the bottom right corner that wasn’t completely dry and so the wash picked up the gesso. This wasn’t terrible in and of itself but it left a slight ridge between the original primed canvas and the freshly gessoed areas. I let it all dry and then went back and added more gesso to that area – creating a rather white sort of starburst on the yellow sienna background. After the gesso was dry I went back and washed over it with the original wash colors. Unfortunately this left sort of a lighter area under the final wash.

So turned the canvas upside down and suddenly it had the appearance of the sun setting behind a cloud bank. Magic. Perfect. And in just the right place….

Happy accidents.

Sometimes though, it’s best to just fix it. If I put my hand in my paint and then proceed to stamp it across the canvas then I wipe that off. That never works.

There aren’t really ‘mistakes’ when painting. Sometimes you might find you did something wrong or the materials start behaving in a way you didn’t plan on but it’s best to just go with it… Afterall, as the hand of nature – as life expressing itself – it’s best to just roll with things – like a river, like the wind, like life – moving towards the final result which, as we always hope, will the the vast summation – the grand explanation – the ever effulgent one – light.

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