Saturday, November 29, 2014

"Around the Bend"

24x36x1.5", mixed media on canvas

I have this quandary in my paintings. My process is this: First I just have fun and scatter texture material (stucco patch or flexible gel or cloth or other stuff) hither and yon without thinking about where it goes. Well, not thinking much. I might try to put more texture here and less there, to add some variety and resting spaces for the eyes. After that I might let it dry, then I might scribble all over it with pens. Might not, though. Don't know. So, by adding stuff. or even using an old painting I never cottoned to, I build up a rich underpainting. In the second part of the process, I get focused on the painting and let it tell me what it needs. There might be wonderful passages that I want to keep or must let go of. I might remove some texture bits or add more. And it's always good to ask what you can do without; it makes for better paintings.

I like that I get to balance my child (first step) and adult (second step) selves in the painting. It's good.

So the quandary is that the painting foundation might be a complete lack of planning or thinking. Which seems a bit strange. The trouble is, when I make a plan, I create these self-conscious works that I don't like. So I'll stick with my process. I just feel surprised when I see that it's based on no planning or thinking.

And that shows up in this painting because the shapes are more squared off than is usual for me. So I must have made some straight lines in the texture underneath. It almost looks like an abstract city scape, really. But what I love most about it is that the central rectangle bends to the left. Buildings shouldn't do that.