Saturday, April 24, 2010

work in progress

time to paint and stop talking about it ... so what do i do? ... sit here and talk about it ... that's how we subvert ourselves every plodding day

After 10mins of work, an undercoat of Prussian blue, putting in some bones (darks) ... multiple layers to go on top in the days to come working at the speed that turps evaporates ... though i kind of like it how it is ... i love unfinished work, suspect many good paintings were ruined by ‘colouring in’ for too long beyond the initial concept and first fresh brush strokes

like Turner's unfinished landscapes http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=14839&roomid=3290. How contemporary they feel. No time to put in those clumsy little figures he had to insert in so many other finished landscapes just to lift their ranking from ‘mere’ landscape into ‘genre’ painting http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/hierarchy-of-genres.htm  . I experienced something similar too with Michelangelo’s unfinished Prigioni. I entered the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence and there, cock-sure, stood the extravert David, all-round footballer, party-animal, and regular guy. What you see is what you get. But deliciously hidden in the dark corridors downstairs are the Prigioni – The Prisoners – figures emerging from the native rock, struggling to be free, unwanted, shoved in a corner, out of the David’s lime-light http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwHji5LhdLw . But how magnificent. Less is indeed more.

day 2 ... yesterday's initial excursion has dried off (not totally) and so i have started working into and over it. The first dabs were a nightmare. I was not in the zone. Paint had to be lifted off. Now the freshness was disturbed. Starting to create mud. More lifting off. Fresh paint on. Despair. Hope. More despair. Now just exhausted and the paint is really irritate with me for messing it about so much. It’s out there on the studio, sulking. I'm in here, fretting.

day 3 and i've revisited my Schiele paintings to get in the zone. Am I there, or am I just getting desperate. I suspect the image itself is wrong for what i want to say with it, and no amount of fiddling will fix that. Only radical surgery. only the very first brush stokes (image above) had any conviction, and the rest just clouded the issue. Live and learn. One of the things i may have learnt is that Alex Kanevsky-style mark-making on large polypropylene sheet is very difficult. Maybe that is the reason he so often worked in just 24 x 24 inch format. So i will now put this away for some months as a failed painting and revisit it after winter (penguins live on the beaches of the island where i live, remember, 42 degrees south)

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