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Five Red Dots

I am often asked about my "process" so I have selected this painting to feature and to briefly tell how it came to be...

So much of what I used was fluid, I worked on this flat on a table, as opposed to upright on an easel. With that view point, the "ladder" appeared more like floating stepping stones over a channel of fire. Since it was meant as a shape and not an actual ladder, I am happy with that image or perspective.

I was afraid the darker left side (see below) was going to appear too dark but making the wiggly curved lines off-white prevent that. The red dots pull the fiery color over to the left to spread it out well enough without taking focus away from the "ladder" or fiery path.

I saw I needed to add a small touch of color away from the "ladder" to balance out the fiery orange (actually red and yellow paint), so I used the complement blue to edge the raised wiggly curved lines (above). The "stepping stones" have blue in them so I wasn't introducing a new color. When this turned out to be too intense, I muted the blue with a wash of silver which blended in with the background greys and purples.

The "frosting" on the right side (above) was painted with raw sienna and then parchment, on which I put blue, purple and gold washes. The dots there are made with my own texture medium and are left unpainted.

The "stepping stones" (above) are painted with parchment, blue, and a wash of gold. The top of each is edged with yellow and the bottoms are underlined with a purple wash for a shadow effect. I like that this gives each a three-dimensional look to them. I kept both sides of the "ladder" area light to be a soft transition to the areas on either side.

I originally thought the cut marks in the texture medium, between the "ladder" and curved-line area (above), would fill dark enough to stand out. It turned out that they didn't so I switched the value and brought over the lighter colors from the right. It not only gave the cut marks the loose definition they needed but also helped spread out the light parchment color further. This area was textured more with raw sienna and parchment, applied with a palette knife, then colored with purple, green and gold washes.

When I thought I was done, it didn't seem right I had dots of paint on both the left and right sides but not in the middle. I didn't want to introduce more color. With so much texture causing shadows over the piece, I knew black would work. For added interest, I used micaceous iron oxide instead of basic black. Each black dot (above) looks as if it is made of shiny metal and not acrylic paint. As an unexpected bonus, these dots, added to the others, gives a bumpy texture over the entire piece now. That also helps unify the four areas.

In all the dimples that I made with a dremel, I put in a speck of blue. It catches the eye nicely when viewed close and makes use of the blue throughout the entire surface. My initials are carved into the texture medium in the lower right corner.

As I indicated above, I am very satisfied with this painting. I have four areas of interest not hard-outlined from one another, a variety of textures that transition well, color balance and eye-catching details. I am not a fan of orange however there is enough in this piece to tone it down for me to enjoy it.

This painting is ready to hang and supported with bracing on the back which makes it seem to float away from the wall. The edges are painted black, blending into the shadows created on the wall.