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I get a bit sentimental about the layers that go into one of my guitar abstracts. Today’s post shows you the stages of my latest one, along with some thoughts on creation and destruction in the process of making it. Besides acrylic paint, I used Kroma Crackle to get the crackly white effects. It isn’t Kirby Krackle in a tube, but it’s still pretty awesome.
Usually we think of art as a creative process, but art also destroys. In other words, making art requires destruction. We also think of these as two different things most of the time, creating and destroying. But really, they represent two aspects of a single, unifying force: transformation.
I like to build rich, complex layers of texture and color into my guitar abstracts. That process, combined with blacking out the silhouettes, requires the obliteration of some things that looked pretty cool to begin with. Every time you add a layer, you bury some of the previous layers. You create something beautiful, and then you destroy parts of it.
My art teacher warns about the trap of falling in love with your backgrounds. If you do, you will never end up bringing the subject to life. Maybe an especially colorful or interesting thing happens during a layer. Before the next layer goes on, you stop and wonder, “Should I just leave it alone? What if I wreck the pretty part that already exists?” Some people will stop right there and just leave it. Afraid to risk destruction, they shy away from taking things as far as they can go.
You make that personal choice. No one made it mandatory to go all the way in life or art. But, I like the thrill of taking it further to see what happens. I like to think about how no one ever cared about that little splash of color that catches my eye as I go to cover it up. That patch of incredible texture never had any love from anyone. But for one brief moment, it mattered. For a short time, it meant enough that the thought of losing it mattered to someone.
And then, I sacrifice it to the true subject of the painting. It dies to bring out the beauty of the true subject, but its brief existence and loss have meaning. In the end, when the subject stands revealed, it carries all those meaningful moments with it. They helped bring it to life. The meaning they brought to the piece lives on with it. Both created and destroyed, they live on: transformed.