Monday, March 15, 2010

"Painting Surface Zero"

Process shots (thanks for the phrase Kirk) of a reworked painting  "in process"  from traces and markings of a closed form grid - 36"x36" on panel (2006)

Working on this painting is producing a renewed cycle of motivation that I have been missing and craving.   Haven't had much studio time on a regular basis and the absence of being absorbed really started draining me.  

I need the balance between the outter and inner life.  Lately, life's been very engaging on multiple levels...but I know for me, I have to return to the work pretty regularly every day.  I have goals and they seem to be getting further and further away as life spins new journeys/choices on a daily basis.  

Taking risks with materials has been my process the past few months.  There's a part of risk-taking that is maturing with me as I stick with learning how to listen.  Are you familiar with gutting it through when deep down you know it's time to make that "U-turn" or maybe it's a matter of turning a 'new' corner?  

I found this excerpt from a Brice Marden book, "Plane Image" --  Artists take risks to fight the threat of a creative death, Pollock once told the painter Peter Busa, "Go ahead, make a mess.  You might find yourself by destroying yourself and by working your way out of it."

This absolutely speaks to me very loudly at the moment.  I have enjoyed making a mess with changing mediums and destroying a few paintings by taking them down to the surface.  In working with wax, it's easy to take it down.  The butane torch, ceramic triangle and my power sander!  

The messing around with one medium at a time along with other depth-building materials didn't take me where I thought I was going --- "ding- ding- ding!!!"  Are we surprised?  Not really.  Of course not!  The disappointment was felt but I pushed forward.  

In pushing forward, I decided to go backwards and take a few paintings to 'surface zero'....destroy and rebuild!  So, the work above is a continuation of what's still in progress with an older painting.  Due to the surface markings and traces of what remained, it has me working very intimately with all my materials again.  

Yes, for me -- much about the "surface" and working with integrating the materials -- wax, pigments, resin, acrylic, graphite and gel mediums.  The grid obesssion continues.  Stalking the accidents has been riveting and the happy accidents pull me in to make it happen again!  

I feel like an architect  restoring an old damaged building.  I love the traces of what was and creating wax-infused smooth finished surfaces.  Something about creating depth with transparent volume, layering, leveling and manipulating the materials to relate to one another in harmony.  

Please don't ask me to identify which parts are wax and which are acrylic!  You'll just have to see them up close and in the flesh real soon!  Will continue on this one tomorrow and will start another surface zero panel that I prepped late today.   My mantra for March is "Rock It" in the studio and don't let frustration get you down!  Maybe it's time to make a mess and working your way out of it?  I tend to work myself "inside" my paintings and have to figure the way out!  

"There's no such thing beneath the heavens 
as conditions favorable to art.  
  Art must crash through or perish". 

                          ____Slyvia Ashton-Warner 

1 comment:

  1. Great post.

    lol@ "Rock it". Great way of thinking about it. Can't wait to see what steps you take next.