Shore Houses, 2007, Oil on Panel, 24x24
Yesterday's brief post about my hair in the paint led to some interesting comments. I started to write a response but it became as long as a post, not surprising given my chatty nature, so I thought I'd address the issue again in a post.
Chris mentioned that he was told by a gallerist that hairs in the paint are extremely irritating to them. I can understand this, as seeing hairs in certain kinds of work can be really distracting. However, if I heard this from a gallery that I am considering working with, I would take that as a big old sign that we would not be a good fit. My work is imperfect, messy, comfortable and full of texture. There are globs of paint on the sides of the panels, blotchy clumps of dried paint crud here and there and random gesso brush marks underneath it all. It would almost be unfinished if there WEREN'T a hair or two to be found.
I think most artists do what they can to get the hairs and whatever out of the paintings (I am particularly impressed with the efforts that Martha goes to, by cutting out the hair, sanding the ridge and reapplying the varnish. I have tried those sorts of things, but any kind of sanding will take my thin layers of paint right off so I am usually bettor off leaving it). But thankfully, we are not automatons and our studio environments are usually pretty relaxed. Pets are often included in the fun, not to mention expensive brushes that still lose their bristles. I have seen $20,000 paintings that are all slick and shiny and beautiful, but still have an occasional brush hair.
Personally, I love it when I see hairs and whatever in other artist's paintings. It's nice to know that others have the same issues that I have. And I love art that is so passionate that the artist doesn't notice or can't stop to pull out a stray hair before the paint dries over it. Seeing stuff in the paint gives it another layer of intimacy and a connection to artist and their environment. But while that is just my personal preference, what I love most about painting is that artists can do whatever they want, from having a warts and all approach to displaying their finest OCD tendencies, and everything in between.
So where on the scale are you? I think I am one step over from the warts and all approach. It's not quite anything goes for me, but it is close.