Also reworked two recently posted pieces (added glazes, more color) and updated photos, here, and here.
It was such a pleasure to paint today! ~Seem~ to have resolved the aesthetic for this developing body of work. Oh, knock knock knock on wood.
It is easier for me to say things when I've figured out how I want to say them. I've been trying to figure out a look that is going to stay interesting for a year. Visually, I'm driven by novelty, I get infatuated, and fall out of love just as fast.
An artist friend asked me today "don't you get a vision for the piece in your mind, and try to create that?" The answer is no, I personally don't work that way. I don't try to stay with my first notion when more interesting things happen on the canvas. I don't say this is better or worse than when an artist begins with a clear intent and works to realize it. I never could paint anything I liked, working in a planned way.
I learned as a writer that often the weakest part of a work is that which was the writer's original fabulous bit. The writer can hardly even stand to cut it, but it doesn't belong in the final work. It hurts it. That first intent has to be sacrificed for the piece to come into its own. As an editor/1st reader, I've in all innocence slashed other people's first fabulous bits. (I can show you the scars.)
For me, this has been true with painting. Maybe because I like narrative in paintings and I am painting the story as I go along. It is more likely though that I don't know what I know until I paint it. And maybe (usually) not even after that, but anyway there is a painting.
Annie Dillard speaks beautifully about the need to sacrifice work in The Writing Life, and quotes some lines from Henry James I loved so much that once I had them in memory. Fifteen years of breathing paint fumes sent them to sludge but I found her book so here they are again.
The part you must jettison is not only the best-written part; it is also, oddly, that part which was to have been the very point. It is the original key passage, the passage on which the rest was to hang, and from which you yourself drew the courage to begin. Henry James knew it well, and said it best. In his preface to The Spoils of Poynton, he pities the writer, in a comical pair of sentences that rises to a howl: "Which is the work in which he hasn't surrendered, under dire difficulty, the best thing he meant to have kept? In which indeed, before the dreadful done, doesn't he ask himself what has become of the thing all for the sweet sake of which it was to proceed to all that extremity?"