Inspiration and Deconstruction

Artist Terry Miura


I love his brushwork and color...the realistic yet abstract view of the subject.  Terry's blog Studio Notes is full of insight to his process including successes and failures.  I was particularly struck by this passage from his May 12, 2014 entry:

"My process for abstraction varies, but often in the beginning stages, the painting looks pretty much straightforward alla prima. More or less traditional representational direct painting. If such a thing can be defined. What I mean is that I'm just painting reasonably "realistically" in terms of colors and values, and nothing really exaggerated. My strokes are not super tight, but not really all that loose either.

Abstraction happens slowly for me. First i'll lose one edge, then another. Then I might redefine a lost edge. Then I may lose it again. After a while, I'll get braver and start losing edges in unexpected areas. (Expected areas being dark shapes adjacent to each other) I may load up an area with color, and using a knife or a brush or a scraper or a finger, drag that paint into an area next to it, whether the color/values are close or not.  Then I may do the same from the other side back into the original shape. Obviously colors and edges become mixed in ways that has nothing to do with rendering of form, and this often brings about surprising results. It's easy to do this in areas of low risk, like the green couch into the dark background. Not so easy (psychologically) to do where drawing is critical, like the lit part of the figure into the background."


Lovely work by an honest and insightful artist.   

So being inspired by Terry Muire I decided to try and bring back a painting from the pile of dead canvases tucked away in my studio.   I've always hated this painting, too rigid and stiff, too 'renderey' (is that a word?) . I just never wiped it off and it's been laying around annoying me since last year. So here is pre-deconstruction and post-decontruction: 


Blech. I can hardly stand to look at it.

Much better.  I might keep her around now with the living works.