Working with YUPO and fluid acrylics last week at a workshop, I was challenged to stretch beyond my comfort zone. Our extraordinary workshop instructor, Sandi D'Allesandro, asked us to not only title our paintings BEFORE we started but also to determine the content of the message we wanted to convey.

Like most artists, nearly every painting I do begins with a new, self imposed challenge to help me push forward, but this direction was way out of my comfort zone. Whether it's good or bad, I seldom know or realize what I'm actually 'saying' until the painting is completed. That's one of the reasons I paint - to express myself. It's much easier for me to express myself with paint than get tangled up with words or with ideas that I can't verbalize. Though I so admire content-driven artists, it's not usually the direction I choose.
The future painting was to be called 'MARRIAGE' and its focus was the last 42 years spent with my honey. Apples and giraffes would certainly show up in the painting, but besides that, my only plan was to have fun and explore. The final painting, finished today, is the photo posted first. The next photo below shows the painting yesterday when it came really close to going in the trash. How ugly could I make it? The colors were nasty in places, and overall, there was no pattern of design to grab the eye. This next photo shows the piece as it was last Sunday at the end of the workshop, (when I thought it was completed.) After looking at it in the studio for several days, I realized that it had a long way to go before I'd want to look at it for any length of time. The last photo above shows just the beginning stages of the painting. Approaching work with this type of Chaos to Control offers such a wealth of learning experiences. When I began, I had a general idea of what would happen.... wrong!

The painting was a big struggle, but now I'm really enjoying it. And yes, it does speak to me a whole lot about marriage, in its design as well as in the effort it took to make everything work together in the painting. The bonus? My honey liked it, too! The new title is FORTY TWO 'n counting.... on heavy weight YUPO 26x20"