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untitled (underpainting)

This the underpainting to a painting I started this week. As the word implies, and this will totally blow your mind, this is the painting under the painting – it’s all that stuff that lies beneath the color. Actually, sometimes I prefer the underpinning more than the finished piece. I meant “underpainting”, but my autocorrect is having a helluva time with this word. In some way I can see this as a stand alone piece. But I also like the color and craziness that goes on top, and I can’t help but try and see it through.

There are lots of ways to create the underpainting. Some people go monochromatic, some get crazy and use lots of colors. Above, I’ve used warm colors, but some like it cool. Some people find that this under-the-painting painting greatly affects the outcome, while others see it as a pointless exercise and a lot of extra work. Some care about a painting’s underparts as much as they care about reading a blog post about a painting. And others only wonder when an underpainting graduates to a painting. I have no idea; maybe when it looks finished. Welcome to the open-ended ambiguity of learning to paint.

I don’t think an underpainting is necessary – a painting can be successful without one – but for me, it provides a blueprint. It provides the skeleton for the muscles, the frame for the house, the strong moral foundation for the politician to be (Ha! *). You get the idea, any overused analogy like this will work. The point is that it’s something to build and improve upon, as long as you don’t lose sight of it along the way. Because here’s the thing, in the end it may not matter. It may fall apart and be an unrecognizable mess by the time it’s finished no matter how sound the structure underneath. That’s just the nature of creating or growing-up.

*Sorry. I know that sarcasm’s the lowest form of humor and all, but sometimes I can’t resist scraping the bottom.

Occasionally, when I have absolutely nothing else to think about, I think of underpaintings like people. Take a good look. Maybe, like a person, one day you’ll come across this finished piece and recognize the foundation in what it’s become, or maybe you’ll shake your head in disappointment wondering what happened to all that stood there before.

If you like, I’ll show more of my underpants (thanks again, Autocorrect) from time to time. In fact, if you’re interested in the more artsy-process stuff, let me know. If you’re just here for the witty, one-sided banter, let me know that as well. If you’re here because you have nothing else to do at work, well, um, let me know where you work. The beauty and curse of a blog is that I’m mostly talking to myself. As my friend Drew says, “If you can’t talk to yourself, you shouldn’t be talking to anyone else.” That’s hard to argue with. That being said, I feel that I’ve got a strong foundation. Now, what to do with it?


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