Tuesday, July 18, 2006
In and Out of the Zone
Blue Over The Water, 2006, Oil on Panel, 24x18
I can tell that I am winding down from all of the work I have been doing lately, because I find myself desperately yearning to paint a different subject matter. Anything will do right now, kittens, big eyed children, spaceships, anything but a landscape! I know the feeling will pass once I've had a bit of a break, and I may pursue some different things (but probably NOT what I just listed), which is what usually happens after I've finished up for a show. Last time I started working on cityscapes and street scenes.
To be honest, I can't even recall all of the pieces I have painted in the last few months. I have to look through the stacks in my studio to be reminded. I suppose this sounds like I just crank them out, factory style, and maybe I do a little when I am busy, but the real reason I can't remember everything is because I get into a zone when I paint. I don't really think about what I am doing, instead I am daydreaming, or planning the weekend or a social event etc. Anything but the painting is what is on my mind. However, I have noticed three distinct trends in how I work.
1. Trouble: Occasionally, I do focus on the work in front of me and those pieces are the ones that I have great struggles with. If I am focusing on the piece it is because it's something new, a new subject, new color, composition or scale. These are the pieces that generally do not end up working out, although I do manage to salvage them once in awhile. Usually by doing something really drastic, like punching a hole in the panel or less drastically, covering half the painting with a transparent coat of paint or something. Like this one, which was totally headed for the sand down pile, instead I covered the top with the red, liked it, and now our neighbors, who collect a lot of art, own it.
2. Typical: Most of the of the time I paint (in the zone) and then later on I look at it critically and often discuss the piece and what is or isn't working, with Doug, make a few decisions about it and then try to get back to the zone the next day with it. Those pieces make up most of my work.
3. The Very Best: Every so often the paintings seem to paint themselves, like Quiet Lake, or like Blue Over the Water, above, which is just the best feeling ever. Not all of these pieces are the very best of my work, but they do often have a special thing going and they definitely are MY favorites!
At first when Number 3 started happening I felt like I was cheating, like I should be having more drama about it all. Finally I realized the the struggles that I experienced with the other pieces was why the others could paint themselves, duh! and so I now have a truce with the troublesome work. We get along, I learn, and it usually gets sanded down. Perfect.