I had a horrible fight with a painting on Friday. The theater-scrim reactive lighting painting/sculpture I had in mind needs time to percolate. I brought it to my painting class last Friday because I was urged to work on my normal body of work and the pieta painting was too wet (not to mention heavy) to transport to the undergraduate campus.
Big mistake., but it did teach me a lot about my process. When I have something in mind painting is like dancing. When I don’t have that clear feeling or picture. it can become a horrible fight.
I threw it out (or rather stripped the canvas off the panel and donated it to a starving undergrad.
When I paint more visceral pieces like the sculpted canvas series I still have a very distinct feeling in mind- a moment, atmosphere, emotion. The skin paintings are something I sketch and re-sketch in color until I have them right and then I create them in a mix of construction and painting in the moment. A painting like the Pieta is extremely planned, with many references and sketches in Photoshop.
But working without even a song to follow? No. That particular piece is like a half-remembered dream. I need to sit with it before I know what it needs to be.
In the meantime, I continue to work on three other projects on my own; the Pieta, a digital weaving using optical fiber, and a new installation similar to Identity Tapestry in character. The last was something I just made a huge leap with yesterday just by explaining it and talking it through out loud to a friend.
The painting shown here was the first day of painting in painting class (part of my MFA program). We had to start something from a photo in the second class, so I took an interesting image (I’ve been enjoying juxtaposing human and machine), tweaked the color in photoshop and started painting. This is 5 hours in (when I last posted it it was just 3 hours). I hope to finish it in the next painting class.
Painting class on the undergrad campus presents a problem for me. I’m glad to have all these little holes in my understanding of how painting works (like how to build stretcher bars and why use pva, etc.) and to get some academic background on contemporary painters and current shows. The hard part is dragging my work and materials back and forth and painting on command. I don’t want to do that to work I’m really serious about- it’s too easy to mess something up in transit, and the distractions of working in a class as opposed to my own studio space interrupt my process. I suppose it’s a form of exercise though. It’s teaching me a lot about my process that I didn’t think about before because I didn’t have those parts of my process interrupted.