Re-Working “Red Trunks” During Portland Open Studios

This was my first year as a participating artist in Portland Open Studios. It was a much bigger event than what I’d pictured when I applied to be part of the tour, but I’m glad I did!

This was the event that gave me a hard deadline for finishing the interior of my new studio and getting moved in. It was a lot of work all at once, but if I hadn’t had that deadline pushing me, I may not even have walls up in there right now!

During the two weeks of the event, I sold a few paintings to new collectors, which is always exciting. I got to meet a lot of nice art lovers. Some of my favorite people to talk to were the younger teenage artists who brought their parents along with them as they got to geek out about art.

I took a time-lapse video on Saturday this past weekend. Traffic was very slow that day because there was a rain storm with high winds going on outside. I took advantage of it being relatively slow to finish re-working my painting, “Red Trunks.”

This is what the painting originally looked like:

Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee
Original version of Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

I had called it finished and even exhibited it in its former state. Don’t get me wrong–I liked the painting. I just did not feel completely satisfied with it or ready to move on from it. It would not leave me alone.

About a year ago, I took the painting down from my website and stopped exhibiting it, determined to re-work it until I absolutely loved it. I re-worked it quite a bit, changing the colors a lot as I painted over the original image, but it wasn’t yet where I wanted it to be. I put it aside to work on other things, where it has been sitting for many months in an in-between state.

That’s what you see at the beginning of this video–big painting on the easel towards the right of the frame. At the beginning of the video, you’ll see me prepping three 12″ x 36″ canvases to paint on later. From then on, I’m focused on the big painting on the easel for most of the day. Later in the afternoon, I get a crowd of visitors when the sun comes out. You’ll see me welcoming people and giving talks about the various artwork in the studio. One amusing detail throughout is the frequent interruptions from the little figure in magenta: my 5-year-old, who is very persistently seeking to be hired on as my official studio assistant.

Enjoy watching the transformation of this painting into its new incarnation over the course of my day in the studio!


Here is what the finished painting now looks like!

Newly re-worked painting: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee
Newly re-worked painting: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee
Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee
Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The end result of re-working this painting is a much brighter, more three-dimensional, textured, and overall more vibrant and beautiful image. I’m so glad I stuck with this one.

Old and new, side-by-side (click to enlarge):

Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee. Old version (left) and new after re-working the painting (right)
Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee. Old version (left) and new after re-working the painting (right)

The paintings I spend the most time agonizing over are sometimes the ones that end up closest to my heart.

Close-up details:

Detail: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee
Detail: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee
Detail: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee
Detail: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee
Detail: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee
Detail: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

By Sunday, the storm had cleared and I got a constant stream of visitors all day! What a whirlwind this event has been.

Now that Portland Open Studios is over, at least until next year, my studio will now shift away from this setup that is designed to be welcoming to guests, more like an art gallery–and towards every inch of usable work space being used for paintings in various stages of completion–beautiful chaos. It’ll probably get a little messy. Can’t wait.

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