Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Process, the bad and the good

Every mark I make, each brushstroke, is provisional.  I draw with the pencil in one hand and the eraser in the other.  As for painting, though when asked I'll state with confidence—bravado even—that "I paint in layers," many of those layers are corrections on top of corrections; my inner mantra has been "I can fix it later."  Surprisingly, I think this uncertainty is more due to lack of confidence than skill; it's so hard for me to believe I could make the line/stroke I want to make with the accuracy/weight/hue/value/chroma I intend, that it's only in a spasm of "something must be done, now" that any mark gets put down at all.  And then it's an approximation, but seeing the approximation, I can relax (a bit) and discover how to tweak it closer to what's needed.  It can be awfully demoralizing, though, and slow.

This seems unpleasantly confessional.  I write it as a way of reminding myself that no process, no matter how habitual, is set in stone, and to reassure myself (and anyone else who may notice) that the piece will still get done.  The only good I really see right now, in the obnoxious adolescence of the current painting, is that the approximations are getting closer and the process is becoming more streamlined and at least a tiny bit less angst-ridden.

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