It’s not uncommon for artists to paint over, or scrape off and repaint, existing paintings. Oil paintings, in particular, lend themselves to this process, and a number of historical paintings have been shown by art forensics to have been painted over or repainted many times.
Normally, the goal is a finished painting that is better in some way than the previous version. However, Duane Keiser, a painter I have written about previously here on Lines and Colors, has taken the concept of repainting in a different direction.
Keiser has been engaged in a daily painting practice for a long time, and is in fact the originator of the “Painting a Day” phenomenon, as started on his blog of the same name back in 2004.
In 2011, I reported on his video of a painting experiment called Peel, in which he painted a tangerine as he peeled it — showing the different stages of peeling the fruit in multiple images — on the same panel, painting and repainting over images that most other painters might have considered finished (and salable).
I marveled at the artistic confidence involved in a process like that, and I marvel at it again in Keiser’s recent experimental Transitory Paintings.
In these two separate panels, Keiser has painted a landscape and a room interior of his studio. In each case, he is repeatedly repainting the same panel to reflect changing conditions of his subject in different seasons, light and time of day.
Keiser has a slowly changing slideshow of each painting in various stages on his website. Keep in mind while viewing these (and the screen captures I’ve posted above) that these are not a series of related paintings, but single paintings that are being repainted over and over.
The landscape has actually been sold, to friends of the artist, with the understanding that Keiser will occasionally remove the painting, paint over it with a new version of the scene, and then return it to them — a constantly evolving painting.