The Making of "Blue on Blue Fabric"

I receive a lot of questions about my process, so I thought I'd illustrate a few of the steps involved to create Blue on Blue Fabric, a recently finished "ecliptic" composition. It took around 6 months to complete this piece, from the initial stretching of the canvas to the final resolution. I set out to do something with a bit of a color "pop", but at the same time give it a lightness and depth.  

After stretching and priming the canvas, several layers of acrylic paint were applied. The underpainting was subtle on this piece, but it adds a little depth and interest, as well as serves to unify the final composition. Fabric swatches were then collaged on with gel medium. I don't always cut the fabric into these amoeba-like shapes, but I suppose I was in a playful mood when collaging for Blue on Blue Fabric and Pale Yellow Black, the piece behind. 

Next was the application of thin, pale blue yarn. I lay the yarn out in a circular criss-crossing pattern, creating shapes that will later define the composition. Collaging the yarn on the canvas is the painstakingly long, back breaking part of the process. I want the yarn to move around in interesting ways, but I don't want it to move too much. So tacking it down here and there with thick globs of get help hold it in place. 

After the gel medium dries clear I can do a check on the collage. I might add a bit more yarn here or there if I feel it's necessary, but otherwise the oil painting is finally ready to begin. In this case I started by blocking in the whites. After the oil dried on the whites I then blocked in a bright mid blue color, and after that a dark indigo for contrast. The color or final composition isn't resolved at this point, but the image displays around half way through the process. 

After the piece is block in, I then fine tune the colors. On this piece I decided to tone down the blues and give them a little gradient and I built up the whites and added a bit of magnesium blue to give them a pop. As all this is being resolved I also work up the background, giving it texture and depth with gel medium, oil and glazes. 

Below is a close up of the background in its initial stages. What looks to be disconnected in the underpainting serves to add texture and depth, and is unified in the end. 

I'm pleased with the final result... it illustrates what I set out to achieve. It's bright but is organic in nature; has a softness yet is also rough in feel; and has interest and depth when viewed either close up or from afar. Prints of this piece are available!