I thought I would share some images documenting the creative process behind my recent painting “Critical Mass”. The painting shows a massive floating sphere of cars. I wanted this image to feel whimsical, yet mildly disturbing. My intention for creating the piece was to explore the notion of rampant consumption and excess.
My initial study for the painting was rather loose, done in a cool palette. I then began my full-size painting by blocking in the composition in warm, golden tones.
Painting the cars proved very enjoyable. The scintillating colors made me think of a giant ball of candy.
Painting the background, however, proved to be much more challenging. This was partly because I hadn’t yet decided if I wanted the background to be a flat color like my study, or something more atmospheric. By taking a photo of my painting in progress, I Photoshopped a mockup using some sky taken from a Thomas Moran painting.
I opted to keep the warm palette of my underpainting rather than the cool teal of my initial study. My goal was to make the surrounding background feel like a hazy sky full of smog. This proved more difficult than I expected. I just couldn’t seem to capture the effect I wanted. I ultimately repainted the background four times before I got something that worked for me.
Here is the finished work. I’ll admit, the painting doesn’t resemble anything like what I had originally envisioned. But I suppose this is what drives the artist to continue painting. Chasing that elusive goal of capturing something as wonderful as one’s initial vision, but being pleasantly surprised by what is ultimately created.