the thought-stream of an artist and writer

Tracey Physioc Brockett

the thought-stream of an artist and writer

Monday, February 28, 2011

What Remains

The back of the canvas has 2005 as a start date. I think I remember some of it's initial elements because I often start a painting the same way, by blocking out shapes that suggest a landscape, a space, but it's only glimpses in my mind's eye of working on some detail or other. I know I blocked it out in the colours that returned, in the end, after many changes in key and temperature. Many of my paintings seem to favor a corner or edge of the field and are loose and light in the opposite, as if the paint is motes shaken from a blanket and caught on a breeze. I imagine the space in front of the canvas to have a physical weight, and the colours must carry themselves to fill in the spaces.
My life was in turmoil for a few years and this painting suffered. I did not know my own mind, and so was in doubt about the painting too. My hand, my brush, is a barometer and when it registers chaos so does the canvas. The worst cannot be turned into a composition no matter how diligent I am.

I have come to think of my paintings as a modern version of The Book of Hours, those Mediaeval bejeweled devotional books the nobility commissioned to mark the seasons both agriculturally and religiously. Not precious or noble mine, but belabored-over calendars of the past, an almanac of situations in reverse. What remains after I have obsessed over the canvas is a kernel of truth about the circumstances encompassing it's existence. It is how I understand the things that I experience.