Adaptation: Evolution Of A Creation

Yes, I was trying to be clever with the title of this post but, nonetheless, it is appropriate to my thoughts here. In the evolving creation, i.e., the process of painting, one must be able to adapt, i.e., adjust and change, to the ever developing image. There can be no fear in this. Confidence in what you want to say and in how to say it is paramount. Here, safety is your enemy. 

My recent painting, Crescent Path, is my case-in-point. The excitement for this piece began with the dynamic shape of a crescent, formed by the swooping path, evident from my angle-of-view to the scene, . I’m very big on shape emphasis anyway and on motion. I stood on dunes to get a high vantage point from which to paint. The organization of the houses and perspective of the path caught my eye. Below is the progression and a big adaption at the end to finish this piece to my satisfaction.

Hover over images to see the explanation, click to view in slideshow.

MT McClanahan

An artist and perpetual thinker, MT McClanahan finds inspiration through connecting ideas across a broad range of topics. He especially enjoys philosophy and how art and life interconnect. He is the founder of TPT and his paintings can be seen at

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6 Responses

  1. Elena Roush says:

    It is like a magic… I love to see artist’s creation in a process. Love to see how this all beauty, all this lines and strokes coming together almost from another world.
    It is not just stages of work. It is really evolution of a creation. Because painting of art work – is not really just work with your brain and hands, but… it is sensuality, it is breathing or even sometimes not breathing, it is work of soul. Each time, when you painting, you feel like this. And when you finished your work – it is such an incredible happy moment. It is really difficult to explain. Each time when you painting, you are passing such an evolution along with your art work. Wonderful painting, Marcus and also wonderful name of article! Congratulations.

  2. Like the use of soft tones throughout.

    • Thanks Carl. If you click on the image it’s sharper in the slide show, but that’s something I like about back lighting–that the colors get softened/muddied–what Hawthorne/Hensche called “mudheads”, when they painted a figure in the same light.

  3. So glad to see the Painter’s Tongue back in my list. This is a courageous thing you did but it should be done by more people. (Showing the steps and our reflection on what you did and why). One quick question on the “coloring”. Did you put a warm wash over the whole painting at the end or is this the result of lighting with the photography?

    • I appreciate that Stephen, I’ve been keeping up a bit with you on your LinkedIn comments as well. Must be the photo, but not long ago I was in a gallery in Boone, NC and the artist/owner was there painting. I asked him the same question because it felt that way looking at his work and gave it a nice harmony. His answer was yes, I on the other hand don’t normally apply this technique but I remember thinking when I left the gallery that I was going to try it on some pieces but I forgot! Thanks for reminding me!

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