Sometimes going in a new direction brings us back to ourselves.
The last piece I painted (A Crowd of Me) left me a little discouraged and a lot determined to do some reflection. While I got some positive feedback from my support clan (aka my amazing wife and daughter), I still felt I didn’t do my best with that painting. It wasn’t that I didn’t stick to the influence of David Park & Frank Auerbach (which I am so very much loving!!!); it was that I returned to an old pattern of making that now appears cartoonish to me.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with cartoonish work, if that is the intension of the piece. In my case it wasn’t the intention and I felt I too easily abandoned my intentions. I guess I’ve opened a Pandora’s box of more compelling muses with this new style of painting and I don’t want to put them back in. I need to slow down my work process and allow myself to solve the aesthetic and technical challenges more carefully than ever before. I need to allow myself to reflect on each piece more deeply and be able to define what each choice means to me.
As an aside to this realization, I’ve been decluttering my life in preparation for the next phase (post-graduation and wherever that takes me). I’m selling off and/or giving away all my art, art books, CDs, etc… The response I got this past week to some of the old paintings I did was a humbling experience. Very few people I approached wanted my older artwork. I’ve avoided asking myself why that might be and the best answer is the same reason I no longer feel attached to them… They aren’t as personal and emotional as my new work. This past two years has shown me that the faces-portraits I’m doing have a greater depth to them and also fit in with m y material explorations. I need to stay true to this challenge, and it is an emotionally charged and filled with fears challenge… so I must be on the right track!
Back to this new piece… Park has a small portrait of an artist and I felt it resonated with me, as I see my artist-self. As I drew the under sketch, I realized that the necks need to have volume, the clothing is very I’m portent, and the planes needn’t be three-dimensional. A skewed plane, in this case the perspective of the worktable needs to be tilted and that emphasizes the meaning of what’s on it: ie. art making! The eyes are now looking down and I need to remind myself not to overwork them.
My gut is questioning whether to start with the figure or the background. Which will be the source colour and which will be the reflected colour? I am giving myself the time to consider it… Stay tuned…