Often a single subject offers much more possibilities than can be explored in a single painting. It is, in fact, prudent to try and focus on one quality that the particular subject offers in any one painting. If you have another idea, make another painting.

Variation on a theme is about our insight and understanding. The deeper the understanding, the easier it is to explore the possibilities. By practicing and working with the same subject multiple times, we arrive at a more complete understanding of it. Just as our technique improves with practice, so does the ability of our mind to grasp the bigger picture, to see the relationships of values and colors, of shapes in our painting that may be beyond our present capacity.

Your personal reasons for making multiple variations on the same subject most likely differ from anyone else’s because your painting is as much about you as it is about your subject. Yes, the subject suggests what is it that you paint, but in the end it’s about your reaction to it, as well as your reaction to your own work and your perception of the world around you. Our emotions are projected into our paintings just as they are in our speech, for example. Sharing your personal point of view is what your job as an artist is. Exploring it for yourself therefore betters you as an artist. It is a privilege and an obligation. You have to do it. You have to explore and experience the world for yourself first, so you can express it as you see and feel it and release it back into the world.

The approach in this particular painting consists of a series of continuous washes, applied wet on dry. I use personal color that is felt rather than seen. Notice that I paint through the lines, connecting my shapes all around. This assures that unity is established. The identity of the individual shapes is specified with further layers.

I hope this lesson inspires you to try different things, explore ideas and go on a new adventures. Have fun!


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