When somebody asks me what my method of painting is, how I decide what colours to use, where to put them, when to stop, I almost never have an answer. This is because I usually don’t think about it. At least, if you like a painting of mine (or really if I like a painting of mine), I probably didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. I think, this is largely due to this being exactly what I enjoy out of painting. I like going somewhere. I’ve found that’s all I have to do, really, is let go (which is more difficult than it sounds). And if I do, subconsciously, I will be at my most calm, and, in turn, enjoy what I’ve produced. It’s like I need to dip into my inner child before I could talk, and think, and make decisions, and have opinions, and just be. Then, and only then I find I am where I
want need to be. That being said, when I am asked to paint something for somebody, I feel it difficult to take direction. Not that I find it hard to swallow, or that I don’t value their suggestions (after all, they want to hang this on their wall!) I want nothing more than for them to be happy with it. It’s just that… my mind can’t handle a direction when it comes to painting. It can’t work. It can’t seem to figure out where it’s going, or rather, it needs to remain lost. Even if I have that particular person in mind while I paint, I’m stuck. I’m constantly worried I’m going to make a bad stroke, choose the wrong colour (which literally never concerns me otherwise), or go too far. I feel that if I’m restricted to certain colours, just the fact that I can’t use others will cripple my ability, or want. This is usually when I will find myself in a spot where I will feel I have to force it out, and so I do, and then I spend a bunch of time trying to convince myself that I like it; cringing every time I see it. When I know I’ve done something good, it’s when I don’t even know how I feel about it. I just know its finished. If I don’t want to destroy it, or add to it, then I know I’ll eventually be happy with it. It’s taken me my whole life to realize this, and, chances are this too will change. But I’ve never been sure if I want this to change. I still don’t know if I want to control it. I often think I need to be controlled by it. Or rather, just let it be. I think in many ways, that may be what its supposed to be for me.
That said, however, I’ve recently begun a painting for a family friend that, for once, after coat number one, I’m enjoying.
One thing that’s always remained true for me, is that I tend to give paintings a second breath before I deem them finished. I’ve never been much into gesso; priming and spending hours on a canvas before I start to paint. I just dive in. I waste tons of paint. I love texture, and usually, after I touch them after their first coat, thats when I find what I am looking for. Usually, if I don’t get it in the second try, I won’t get it at all.
I am excited to see how this one is going to turn out. My studio-mate and dear friend Aime (who has honestly turned out to be my muse…more on that at a later date) told me it looks like a Birthday Party. I like that. We had kind of been celebrating at the studio as I painted [this!], as for a short time, it looked like we might be without it…and yet, the stars seem to be aligning, and for now it appears we’ll be around for a little while yet.