Inspiration and Experimentation

Oil painting by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey, Crossing, Oil on Paper, 12″ x 16″, © 2015

My daily art production is often clearly directed to a particular subject, medium, and method but I feel that, often, it’s a good idea to take a diversion.  Sometimes changing my focus by just a few degrees can make a huge difference in how I feel about my work.  Experimenting with a new medium or method can be inspiring and lead to the development of new ideas.

My painting from today is was done in oil on paper and is of a street in downtown San Francisco.  I’ve been working with the idea of capturing how it feels to be in the city but I haven’t worked with oil on paper in a long time.  My first attempts were in a color and design class in college.  I remember enjoying how the oil could be added in thin layers of glaze to create subtle value and color shifts.  My approach today was similar.  I started with a drawing then moved to adding thin passages of color and then back to drawing.

What I like most about this painting was that it was an experiment.  I didn’t have any expectations of mastering a technique or making a grand statement.  The work is playful and that is the main thing that I’m taking away from today.  Keeping my process playful and experimental yields much better work than forcing an action.

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