Here's where it started: a layer of paint.
From there I applied my first layer of papers, which I applied with spray adhesive.
And then I kept going: more paint...
More paint...more paper...
And then I decided to pull everything back in terms of color and contrast by adding another layer of "Titan Buff" paint...here is the piece with this layer about a third of the way across the painting:
Here's what I've learned: spray adhesive doesn't work very well on wood.
So here's what I'm doing now: after spending many weeks applying all these layers of paint, molding paste and paper on top of the intital spray adhesive-applied layers, I now have a thick, textured piece...with a lot of air bubbles in it. I suppose I could simply decide to make those bubbles part of the texture and pretend I intended to create those, but they are driving me crazy. Because of this, I am now slicing across these air bubbles and pulling back the layers of paper:
...then glueing them back down to the wood with a combination of Elmer's, more paper and another layer of molding paste:
With this, I feel like I am basically doing repair work, having to tear everything apart and piece it all back together, then apply more materials so it doesn't look like a wounded soul, all stitched up and scarred. I will let these latest applications of glue and molding paste dry over the weekend, then maybe, just maybe, I can finish it next week.
I will admit that at this point I have very mixed feelings about this piece, and feel more than a tad tempted to rip everything off and start over. This piece has taught me a great deal about what doesn't work, and while these are valuable lessons, I also feel frustrated over how much paint and other materials are being sacrificed in the name of creative knowledge.
But that is the deal - learning what doesn't work creatively and what materials aren't right are just as important as learning what works, and frustration is sometimes a necessary piece of the creative puzzle. I think I am pretty lucky in that I rarely come up against ongoing such irritations when I work, and I rarely have such a hard time finishing pieces. I have had to walk away from this particular piece so many times it is beginning to be funny (sort of).
This creative journey is clearly not over, and I still do not know exactly what this painting will mean to me, say to me, pull out of me. Will I want to hang it in our foryer, evidence of a hard-won interior battle or will I set it outside with a sign that says "FREE", wanting to be rid of it forever? Right now I don't know, and that is OK. This story is not yet over.