Painted Myself into a Corner!

I’ve written nothing about my paintings for quite a while. That’s because I’ve spent very little time in the studio recently.

It’s easy for me to fall into the same kind of habits I had when I was writing fiction – but instead of continually trying to perfect the first sentence (and thereby never write a second), I started reworking the same little part of a painting, and in the process lost direction.

At first the painting was entirely abstract, but with a little imagination I could see a potential face emerging. So I tweaked the face-like section until it became a face. But then how did it fit into the rest of the painting? Something else had to be added/changed – and then something else…

Ironically I’ve now painted over that original face because it no longer seemed to fit those latter changes. While there are parts I still like, overall I’ve painted an incoherent collection of marks and images.

Can anything be salvaged?

I’m not sure.

4 thoughts on “Painted Myself into a Corner!

  1. Can’t count the number of times I’ve felt the same way. There’s usually 3 choices, imho:

    1) Paint over everything
    2) Put it aside for later
    3) Forget about it and store it out of sight

    I think I average around 1 good piece of work out of 10, which is why there’s a stack of panels in a closet that I haven’t touched for years (choice #3). The ones that I left for later actually became some of my better pieces once I went back to them about a year later (choices #1 & #2). The ones that are still sitting waiting after many years are only there because, way back in the early 70’s, I trashed a pile of my earliest work and regretted it ever since.

    Never, EVER, throw anything out.

  2. Hi, brother:

    I’m no painter, but I can identify with your comment about “…habits I had when I was writing fiction…continually trying to perfect the first sentence (and thereby never write a second).” Masqua’s summary of the choices at that point seems to apply to writing as well (with the advantage that we all have unlimited room for “storage” of unsatisfactory writing, in that receptacle on the floor right next to our desks. LOL).

    Ran across a quotation the other day that made me think of what I like about your paintings: it’s attributed to Whistler, and you may have heard it. Asked how long it took him to make a painting, Whistler is said to have replied, “All my life.” All of Tim’s life is in each of your paintings. I like that authenticity.

    Blessings, Steve

  3. Hi Steve,
    I don’t think any of my early writing exists any more – it was all “stored away” in that receptacle you mention.

    With my painting it is certainly a personal journey creating from instinct and feeling more than from technique (which I don’t have). Most of my better paintings almost come about by accident. When I try to apply a predetermined idea I usually struggle and I’m mostly disappointed with the result.

    To a degree my writing was done in a similar way. I rarely had a plan in mind; I’d just start writing, a sentence at a time until a direction developed. Nowadays I apply paint to a canvas and see where it goes. What starts out with no immediately apparent purpose will occasionally become something I like or something that I know I can develop further.

    Often I’ll hit a dead end and can’t see what else I can do – but knowing something else NEEDS to be done. Those paintings I’ll put aside for a while and eventually I’ll find what’s needed to bring it to completion.

    Another thing in common between my painting and my writing is the previously mentioned lack of technique. I keep painting until something looks right to me: trial and error. With writing I don’t have an academic understanding of grammar and language (despite graduating with a BA in Eng Lit.). I write “by ear” – what SOUNDS right, even though I may break a lot of grammatical rules in the process.
    Bless you mate, Tim

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