Tuesday, June 8, 2010

avoiding traps

The past few days in the studio have been interesting. I keep meaning to bolt together the montages that are complete -- I need to clear them out and regain the wall space, for one thing -- but I am always pulled back into painting. In doing so, I am encountering some old traps that in times past have derailed my enthusiasm, self-confidence, and general forward progress. I am hoping that, by recognizing them and writing about them, I can avoid getting mired down this time.

The central issue on my mind today is painting for "production" -- that is, focusing on creating pieces for sale -- versus painting for its own sake. The latter produces pieces that resound with me, in which I have confidence and even pride, and which seem to speak with my voice. The former is one of the traps: In painting for "production", I force design and lose the flow. For example, there was one arrangement/montage in the finished batch with which I was not entirely happy. Rather than simply dismantle it and put the panels back into "stock", I tried to fiddle around with it. I removed one panel of the three. The two remaining were good, but not quite. So I took one of them and tweaked it, trying to add paint and texture to make it "fit". It still doesn't work. This morning I was thinking, I'll go out and tweak that panel some more, to see if it will fit. But there is the trap. For some reason, this situation, of trying to force a piece into a preconceived slot, nearly always fails.

Part of the power that I am finding in this mode of painting (cold wax, abstracts, coming together in arrangements) resides in creating each individual piece to its own completeness, and letting the groups meet up later. That separate completion of each panel is for some reason crucial to the process. At least for now, trying to force and niggle and edit panels so that they "fit" together, just doesn't work. Maybe at a later time it will, but for now, I have to stay away from that. Lesson learned, and trap avoided, I hope!

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