Monday, December 31, 2007

A Little Self-Analysis

For some weeks now I have been producing small pictures. They are 6 x 4 ins. on lightweight polyboard. I’m not doing them for my show in January (though I will show them there) – I’d started them before I’d booked it. I just wanted to paint. I hadn’t actually done any for ages. Lots of other things … but no painting.

I wanted to explore my ‘visual language’ – to understand it better and to get a little more fluent. It involves paint, surface texture, colour, images, words, found elements (sticks and stones etc.). I also wanted to work creatively with what I already had rather than go out and buy new materials or look for new ideas. I wanted to have no agenda other than to paint and express.

I soon found a rhythm in what I was doing. Applying, leaving time to dry, applying some more, painting, sticking, varnishing. As I went along I became more fluent and could begin to add small touches here and there. I began to know what I was doing so I could repeat the process with variations. The pieces began to emerge and the colours stood out. Lining them up I began to feel pleased.

I was painting in tongues.

Then it got complicated. I decided to try 2 larger pieces (10 x 14 ins.). I applied the same techniques to start, but obviously on a bigger scale. And soon I was stuck. I pushed myself to make it work, but it wasn’t happening.

I’d lost my syncopation.

It’s an interesting process. It seems there is a creative seam to be mined at any one time and it’s no good going off at tangents – no matter how small the variation might seem to be.

The other strange thing is that I’m starting to feel like a tradesman or an artisan. I can paint and I know how to produce pictures. I’m starting to understand my craft as well as understanding myself. It’s building my confidence.

And that has to be a good thing.

OK … you can wake up now.

Yin-yang and all that. Whenever I think I'm a genius I hit my biggest roadblocks, too! :) ("Painting in tongues" -- I love that!) Happy New Year Peter! xo
Such a wonderful post, Peter. You really articulated something that I've often felt, and done, but couldn't put into words. The whole process and discovery, and the return to no other agenda but to express. Finding my rhythm - again.

I always have to stop and remind myself to back off and not push to make it work when I get stuck. Every time.

I hope we get to see more of these little paintings! This one is lovely.

Happy New Year!
Andrea ... it's so much like that!Happy new year to you too!!!

Angela ... it's a stange, strange process, isn't it? Happy new year.

I hope you both have a really productive, profitable and enjoyable 2008.
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