Risk Management

Art is about taking risks, right? Of course it is, but there’s no need to be macho about it. There are times when you feel confident and want to dive right in, to take your painting forward or make drastic changes, and that’s exactly what you need to do. Other times you might be less sure of where you want to go. It is easy to just stop there, do nothing, and loose momentum. Or you could develop a “risk management strategy”. This could be a way of working on the painting without actually working on the painting (if you know what I mean). In previous posts I discussed pausing work on the large canvas, and creating smaller versions in different mediums (the watercolor and the monochrome acrylic). Here is the techie version of that process.

I photographed the painting, opened it in Photoshop and proceeded to sketch in changes on my Bamboo drawing tablet. I added layers on top of the original layer so that I could draw and erase without affecting the painting itself. The “Clone Stamp Tool” was handy to cover over the old arms so that I could paint them from scratch.

Tom Hopkins, an accomplished, Canadian painter who recently passed away, demonstrates similar ways of working. In a video, he cuts out one of his figures, evlarges it and moves it around the painting to see how it would look in different places. It was just to get ideas for how he wanted to continue the painting. “It’s kind of like cheating in a way,” he said, “and whenever you feel but if you think you’re cheating as an artist, you’re probably on the right track.”

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