Often when I am painting a commission for someone over time, and I have reached that half way point, I am less willing to just grab the paintbrush and paint. That’s the downside of doing commissions for me…it can be restrictive at times. So before I continue, I work on other pieces. Loosen up my marks, think about the composition, just be happy making mistakes.
So I continued to work on a smaller painting on canvas. An older piece. I kind of got lost in it. Painting small marks, details of memories, textures. I carved and scratched and painted over these. Then I added some green, saying all the time to myself, ‘do not use green today’. So I added some raw umber over that. Then wiped it all back, erasing my lack of confidence and direction. But not entirely. What do I want this painting to be?
Then I had to stop
Often at this stage, I am left feeling like I have only half completed something I should have finished…like only putting on one shoe before leaving the house.
So I take a photo of it and then later in the evening I sit with it on my computer and make marks on my screen. The whole impermanancy of it is liberating. It’s how I work out what I haven’t been able to do in my studio.
I can’t paint at night. So this process is what get’s my aesthetic problem solving out of my system until the next day. I don’t want this painting to be green. I want it to be brown with layers of ochre, grey and white. NO, mostly grey with just hints of colour. Like how the tides change with the reflection of the sun, each layer changes. When there’s too much detail, I’m not settled, so it’s about balancing it out with negative spaces. Spaces that become the memories of walking through the waterways and along the shores.
But the final piece…Well I have no doubt that it will be very different.