There is much I like about the current state of the painting 2017 No.13; there is much that discomforts me. I feel more insecure about the right side then the left side. Here, in reproduction, it looks better than it does in the studio. The left is not quite in sync with the right. It is atmospheric discord, as well as image discord. Most important, I am now optimistic. This painting will succeed!
Yesterday's drawing is testing my sight, my ability to see. Is that a hole in the center of the large, complex form on the right side of the drawing? Or is it a protrusion of something light in value? I don't know. I done care. In this case my intuition responds "yes" to this form's viability; in art-making affirmative intuition must be followed, even if it leads to failure. This manner of problem solving is OK in art-making, always leading to the discovery of correctness. This method is not always good in life. In life, sometimes one cannot go back and correct a gaffe. Art is about mistakes and failures leading to knowledge, leading to better art. This is not true in human relationships. People say and do things they cannot take back.
I am always hoping I am good enough to do it all in one fell swoop! Not yesterday! The painting 2017 No.11 is better than the day before, but the yellow creep onto the largest form in the composition requires a pullback. That will happen tomorrow. I think that will be the end of it. This painting does require a few other touches (besides removal of the excess yellow). That should be easy. The difficult work is done.
Yesterday's drawing tests a few new ideas. I still think (as I wrote in yesterday's blog post) I am exploring ideas that may instigate a new painting, which should begin shortly.
Something is very right about the painting 2017 No.5. I do not think it calls for more. It sings, it is full of light, its color play (both local and atmospheric) is joyous, and the composition is balanced while simultaneously off-kilter. What could be better? At this point I do not know. Glory, glory, Hallelujah!
Te drawing is a study for the painting. I cannot follow a formula. Although this drawing resembles 2017 No.5, it is different, albeit informative.
The light and airiness of my new painting is an immediate reaction to the questions I asked during the finishing stages of the previous painting, 2017 No.4. My questions pertain to color, both local and atmospheric. I admit, one of my crutches, when in query, are the works of Henri Matisse. In Matisse's best work he handles the nuances of color, the competition between the insistence of local color versus the insistence of atmosphere, better than any painter I know. Light dominates in 2017 No.5, as it does in my favorite works by Matisse. Similar Matisse (looking broadly at his oeuvre), I do go back and forth with my concerns, ricocheting from the dominance of form to the dominance of color. In 2017 No.5 color is winning. As examples of my influence I reproduce a work by Matisse and one by the Bay School painter Elmer Bischoff. FYI: The entire Bay School, which included Richard Diebenkorn, was greatly influenced by Matisse's play between local and atmospheric color.
I hesitated to write anything today. Anxiety is here, but so is my confidence in the quality of this work, thus my feeling nonchalant as well. Working never rids me of anxiety. You can see this in the drawings. Each asks a different question. Confusion does not occur in the making, but it appears in comparison, one work to the next. Not so in my painting: I am obviously taking on atmospheric color. This came to the forefront in my previous painting, "2016 No.18".
I am not reinventing light, but I am interpreting it. That's what happened yesterday. I have always enjoyed looking at the many paintings of haystacks by Claude Monet (below, see a reproduction of one of those paintings). So, it is not surprising that "2016 No.18" is unravelling in the way it is. The surprise is my interest in using this light filled idea to find emotional reality, of which I think my paintings need a shot. I believe I am feeling this way because of the confidence I have developed in the technical aspects of light-dark contrast, form, and composition. It feels to me that I have prepared myself for a more profound intervention into emotional transference. Thus the light! Light is becoming one more tool in my box of tools.
Who makes the rules? Not me! Me? Actually its both! This world I am making is according to a confluence and divergence of everything known. Making sense of it is slow, but sure, a day by day activity. This makes me think of Michelangelo, who said on his deathbed, at age 89 years: “I regret...that I am dying just as I am beginning to learn the alphabet of my profession.” I am always beginning. Every time I stand in front of a white piece of paper, or a white canvas, or even a painting or drawing that is in process, I feel so youthfully naive. The more at a loss I am, the better I disarm myself through the process. Disarm is a good word for this process, i.e. if I take it to be the stripping away of weapons and ammunition. I am always protecting myself, looking to keep the fortress intact. I also want to find a way to build the fortress bigger, more substantial. Of course, I am constantly failing because that is NOT what I am doing. I am NOT building something more substantial, I am learning the alphabet that is already here.
The newish painting, "2016 No.17", looks like a reaction to my previous painting, "2016 No.16". "No.17" is working with a limited palette, thus feeling atmospherically involved. This is me questioning the color scheme of "No.16", which allows competition between atmospheric and local color.
I like yesterday's drawings.
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