Monday, May 10, 2010

now what?

Can one get too attached to a pleasing aspect of a painting? Why is there fear in touching an existing section that seems "right"? More basically, what does one do when one doesn't know what to do next?

These are the questions plaguing me today. Take last Friday's image, for example. This is NOT a finished painting, yet I look at it and think, now what?

Another example: I did paint over a 6"x6" that I decided was too tritely representational. Then I painted over that. Then again. Now it is a mess, has no focus, no attraction. My naive assumption, that by "messing it up" it would come right somehow, almost on its own, was obviously wrong. I'll let it sit, then perhaps scrape it down and start a different painting on the support.

Why do some paintings just flow and emerge, while others proceed in fits and starts and stay hidden under a gauze of fog? How many paintings have I begun and ended up throwing away because I couldn't see where to go with them?

Perhaps it is a question of bringing a certain attitude to the easel (well, tabletop). There may be a balance between being too precious and being too slapstick. One must pay attention to what is happening to the painting as each move is made, yet must also keep a distance and objectivity.

Instead of fearing to ruin something, I can ask, "how can I enhance this wonderful passage?" Also, perhaps, I can keep a sense of forward motion with a painting until it comes to rest on its own, with a sense of completion.

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