For better or worse I am done with working on this piece. Imagining the layers that are there has been like playing chess in my head. The painting pleases me at first glance. I can't tell if I worked it to death, if the mystery has been scraped out of it yet. I'm such a worry wart. The joy is there, underneath.
Diagram B unfinished 1/29/12
This is one of those paintings that may never justify to time and materials spent, and yet..... I have dragged this piece kicking and screaming from wall to wall and I am only beginning to hear what it's been trying to tell me.... that there is something I want/ need to follow, some will o the wisp breath/touch of the ephemeral truth....
Diagram B unfinished 2/6/12
I keep hoping it will reveal more. I am addicted to adding and scraping. I had always hoped to film the process by which I uncover a painting, but the lengthy time I have needed for each canvas has mothballed that idea over and over. I am getting better at throwing out the jabs of colour and line, seeing what they have caught. When I start to go wrong I can usually save us from total chaos. I thought that perhaps being able to witness it again over my own shoulder might give me some idea of what it is I am doing. Understanding what it is that gives a painting that one little puff of a breath that sends it off breathing on it's own. Beginning is easy. Finishing wrenches me hand, heart and soul.
Three weeks after the intensity of New York, the false cheer of several fundraisers to aid the flood relief after Hurricane Irene, and the complications of multiple family birthday celebrations, I am back in my studio, facing my own work. There is no avoiding the issue of why I am an artist when all the introspective thought I allow here in this space comes galloping at me as I settle in at my work table.
I come from a very artistic family, with professional artists of many generations on both sides, cousins, siblings,nephews. Nearly exclusively they were or are working at the representational end of the realism/abstraction spectrum. I have always known I was an artist, but I didn't really start painting until I was in my twenties, in my last semester of college, and after many drawing and printmaking classes. It took a while, and many frustrating classes before I realized I was most influenced by landscape, longer still to give up trying to paint en plein aire.
I try to walk and hike in nature often. Only recently I have been bringing along the small camera I bought last year to take photos of work I saw in New York. The idea of recording things visually in photographs is very new and foreign to me. I have very few until recently, and there is a swath of nearly 2 decades of my life were there are virtually no photographs of me or my life at all. The idea of actively seeking out and capturing the inspiration for my work seems even more foreign. For most of my career I have only known what I was interested in by looking at my paintings.