Thursday, March 26, 2009

anatomy of a painting [7]

Some more time has passed since I trotted out this piece for the ‘anatomy series’ of posts. No reason other than it has been on the back burner as other works demanded more attention. Apologies again for the lack of a quality image here but it should give you an idea as placeholder. As you can see from previous posts that the lifespan of this work is starting to become substantial. This is simply circumstantial but also reflects my general interest in slowness as an approach to picture building. The silences between stages are what set up the reverberations I need to advance the work into a more realized state.

Since the last time I spoke of this piece, I have employed the nuclear option. I eradicated the bottom quarter several times with huge swaths of muddy paint in part to fill in surfaces gaps and also to actually submerge the former grid into a sludgy demise like river water saturating turned soil. (some sanding/scraping also to make the current state change)

Next in order is a reworking of the part of the painting that was actually working. First I wanted to expand the sky upward as the darker passage which bracketed it previously was troublesome in that it suffocated the work as a whole. Painting that out presented unforeseen problems. Uneven surfaces seams and some paint loss due to taping lead me to an endless game of reconstruction that is only now complete in a version not pictured here. Despite this, it was the right call as now there is room to work. This leads to what was the center point of the painting, the smoke/chemical cloud that largely acted as the catalyst and entry point for the painting. I was very satisfied with this part of the painting and have clung to it as the anchor point since its completion. However, now that other changes have taken place, this part now has to be removed and reworked.

This is where painting gets hard. The challenge is having the courage to let go of ‘success’ for the betterment of the whole. Generally when an artist paints themselves into a corner as the expression goes, it is because they are holding to a passage at all costs for fear (or realization) that it cannot be improved or replicated elsewhere throughout the painting. The trouble is, painting is a relationship that requires give and take. It is not static. Letting go is central to the process of realization. At this moment, I have sanded down that centerpiece and blown out the former horizon line. I am now ready for the final leg of the work. I hope to have one more posting of this process before the piece is complete.

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