Davison © 2003-2004 all rights reserved
work in progress.
Acrylic on canvas, 34" x 46".
A sketch made on
a kayak trip down the Na Pali coast of
Kauai this past summer becomes the
inspiration for a new painting.
photos were taken in my studio at rather
arbitrary moments. They do not represent
equal amounts of painting time. Quite a
bit more painting has gone on between some
of the images than others. I should also
point out that these are not the best of
photos. Much of the finer detail and
shading is lost, but hopefully they will
give an idea of my process.
After a few quick
sketches to plan the composition, I draw
the basic outlines and shading on the
canvas, and then I begin to paint.
At this point I
try to quickly establish areas of color
and contrast, knowing that most of this
first paint layer will be overpainted in
the final painting.
I tend to use
brighter, more saturated color in the
beginning, which will help to add a glow
from underneath subsequent paint
I enjoy this
early stage of the painting. It's the
beginning of a new creation, and I like
the boldness of the shapes, lines and
colors as they appear on the blank
In some areas I
apply colors that will be close to what I
think the final color should be. In other
places I might apply the opposite color to
what I imagine the final result will be.
Although my sketch does have some basic
color notations for certain areas, most of
my color choices are intuitive or from
There is no
formula to how I approach a painting. I
try to be open and not overthink things
too much. Working from a simple black and
white ink sketch helps in that way, so
that I feel free to experiment and
experience the piece as simply paint on
canvas, while at the same time integrating
my feelings and memories of the
At this point I
have covered the canvas with one rough
initial layer of paint, and the "euphoria"
of the early stage is gone. This is
usually the most difficult point for me.
The painting is a confused mass with
little cohesion or unity, but I know that
these early colors and shapes are already
creating relationships and harmonies that
will guide and influence the path of this
Hopefully I can
create something from this mess with at
least a little beauty and poetry.
Much work has
been done since the last version and
nearly all of the original paint has been
overpainted with one or more layers. I
have lightened some areas and darkened
others. Remnants of the original colors
still show through from underneath,
especially along edges of shapes.
I apply paint in
thin layers blended and scumbled into and
over surrounding and underlying colors. I
think this approach of building up a
painting through thinner layers stems from
my years of working primarily in
watercolor, a medium dependent on
transparent washes of color.
Most areas of the
painting have been reworked several times
with multiple layers of paint. The sky
especially has gone through many changes,
with the cloud forms evolving in search of
a satisfying arrangement. I like that the
skies in my paintings go through these
changes, much in the same way as our
island skies are constantly moving and
finished painting appears little changed
from the previous version, quite a bit of
additional painting has been done, most
noticeably in the sky, distant ridges, and
ocean. I have continued to darken and
lighten certain areas as the painting
Finer details and
touches of color to define areas and
shapes are the last bits of painting to be
The piece is
titled "Between Sea and Clouds."
I hope this has
been of some interest. It has dealt mainly
with the physical process, the "how" of
developing a painting. See my artist
for more on "why" I do this.
to Between Sea and Clouds
to Paintings Gallery