A milestone in both the "redshift" and "blueshift senses: my last gig in Lawrence, and my first gig using the new ultra-fat-tipped "Hardcore" brand markers I bought to mix it up a little. Working with only one width kept me from throwing broad swaths or solid patches of color on the paintings, which led to a lot of tiny, clustered, focused work; the idea was to start with a few bold strokes and then use the finer lines to bring out detail. You know, some kind of actual painting technique! But those big pens with their wide flat tips were more difficult to wield than I had anticipated. It takes A LOT more work to an even line - kind of like being a kid playing with your parents' calligraphy set (if that metaphor connects at all with anyone!). Those fat ribbons ended up a little more wiggly than I had meant to make them... I like how the fat yellow pen is kind of transparent and you can see the ribbons a little bit through the orbs. Keeping everything overlapping in the right order was the biggest challenge of this piece, but I think overall the depth is fairly convincing.
This is what happens when I drive for eight hours and THEN paint, only to try and finish it at 5 AM after the concert, when my brain is wondering why I'm keeping it awake. Exhaustion aside, I got to try out a lot of cool new things with this piece - like making transparent orbs out of concentric circles, and giving scaly leaves to the bold wide strokes of green I laid down first. Another experiment with this one - and something I'm going to have to try again a few times, because the idea is so satisfying - was to create a minor explosion of light IN THE MIDDLE of the object, BETWEEN the tentacles or whatever they are, as if the roots of the thing are ripping open and illuminating everything from the opening rift. The electric blue margin on that foreground tentacle really pleases me, but it wouldn't have looked as if I had extended it anywhere else. Kind of like part of another painting busting into this one.
The transparent plants were a first. And this one is another attempt to leave more and more of the painting "unfinished" as it goes from one side to the other, to reveal little glimpses of the process. This one didn't leave MUCH unfinished - just a little at the top. I also tried creating a "scalloped" boundary along the outside of the bubbles, giving them a bit more of a liquid look to them, by outlining them with one wavy line and then again by normal curves that partly occluded the waves. You can see some of the original wavy bubbles up toward the top. Looking at it now, it seems like those plants are trying to grab the bubbles as they float by but keep missing. Or maybe that's just how I felt at The Root while painting this. It was a weird night - not many people there, given the talent, and SO cold, even indoors.