Saturday, January 4, 2014

What I've Missed

The canvases have been sitting in a corner of my studio for months.  Pretty big units covered with Latex Paint and Hay and set for further development, so I decided to set them up.

I’d been regarding them, sort of; but when setting them up things got serious.  Which way did they go?  I switched them around, turned them over…looked, watched…reset them….
My home studio is big enough to handle these canvases—I didn’t know that before and it’s nice to realize as I gaze.   Whether size matters or not, there is a difference.   To have big surfaces in the studio is such an inviting challenge—their impact is undeniable. 

I begin to pick apart what’s going on between these canvases and grab a brush, starting to work up the line/shape relationships between the two canvases.  Then pause and reflect…this is what I’ve missed.

They take a lot of consideration. I edit out repetition, the irrelevant, and the distracting; hopefully without losing the spontaneity of the beginning phases.  Having killed a number of promising works over the years, I know the heartbreak of losing a strong opening.

Looking, acting, and then watching what has happened (and figuring what is next) is precious.  As the painting emerges, the process is archeological, as well as architectural:  excavating and building.
I love that zone of looking, acting and reflecting on the large scale—that’s what I’ve missed.  The product demands the process...and sure, you can get too careful.  That’s when the original flower of the process dies…sometimes you can blow it apart and regain the elements of power, surprise and delight; but that is also a new work. 

I ended the day knowing what to do next.  I could have continued into the wee hours with this one--clearly there's a long way to go.  Knowing the next step is valuable and a great motivation to get back to it. 

It's the end of a long day in the studio with several projects happening at once, and neither the painting nor I am exhausted.  Its potential is preserved and is in the process of being revealed.  How much of it can be realized and still maintain the full interest?

Here's a short video of day 2 in the process of defining this image, January 8, 2014.

And here's Day 3, the end is most interesting!  Who knew?


  1. Your words are art in themselves James, i.e., "you can get too careful. That’s when the original flower of the process dies" and "Having killed a number of promising works over the years, I know the heartbreak of losing a strong opening.
    ", these, especially, really hit home with me.

    1. Thanks MT, this painting has a ways to go and I hope to document all of it. I believe that there are a number of surprises looming!