Believe it or not, the below slideshow is the progress of 1 painting– Illuminated Passages-1. Yes, that is right, it takes many layers to make one of my paintings.
The only painting that currently exists is the final rendition, labeled layer 11. I must admit, I probably neglected to photograph some layers, so there may have been closer to 15 layers in all, but you get the idea. So the way it works is that I paint a layer, allow it to dry, then paint another layer on top. I never fully cover the previous layer, and often use transparent liquid acrylic which allows you to see what was below while changing the color on top.
While this process is not quite as forgiving as working with layers in Photoshop, it has a very experimental quality that offers infinite possibilities. As much as I would love to say, delete a particularly ugly layer, or go back to a certain gorgeous one, the process of painting is just like life. You have to keep moving forward, taking the beauty and the grit, and make the most out of it. Each layer informs the next, and while you may not see any parts of the first few layers in the final painting, they form the building blocks of the painting.
I just adore creating in this manner. It is freeing to know that I can completely transform a painting with a single layer of paint, and I never know what it is going to look like when I begin. Check out the images below to see each layer close up.