Sometimes paintings magically work the first time I put them down. More often I have to try and try again. In the case of Phyllis, I painted about a dozen versions before I got it right.
Phyllis started out as an image of a kid walking on Cadillac Mountain. I painted it at home, before my artist-in-residency at the Deer Isle Artists Association gallery.
I liked it well enough, but it wasn’t quite what I was getting at. The vegetation seemed a little overworked, the figure was a little stiff, the feeling it elicited wasn’t exactly awe at Cadillac’s majesty and all that.
I tried painting three adults at the edge of the painting.
Nope, that didn’t do it for me either. I liked the image of the woman, but again the vegetation looked overworked.
So I shifted gears and painted a panoramic view of Frenchman Bay from Cadillac Mountain. All of these paintings were adapted from a couple dozen photos I took with my cell phone.
I was pleasantly surprised by the way the painting glowed (thank you, quinacridone gold).
I decided to leave it alone and go back to my images of people on Cadillac Mountain. I set my timer on my cell phone and finished in 30 minutes.
Cindy Bourque-Simonds, who manages the DIAA’s exhibits, dropped in with her dog. “Who’s that?” she asked, pointing to the woman I’d made up on the top of the mountain.
“Phyllis,” I said.
Phyllis looked cartoony and the mountain looked too pink in some places, too muddy in others. I tried again.
Then I thought I’d combine the Cadillac Mountain Panorama with Phyllis.
Version No. 1:
Version No. 2. I didn’t even finish Phyllis. I knew what I had to do.
Final Version. Finally.