Monday, October 9, 2017

Out of touch

Whenever I've been out of the studio for a while, it takes some concentrated time before I can paint a successful abstract (successful to me, anyway).

So, knowing studio time would be at a premium for the next few months, I bought a pack of small canvases -- 9x12's and 16x20's -- to give myself the opportunity to keep my hand in. 

The smaller canvases limit me physically -- it turns out my work is much freer with the larger brushes and broader physicality of larger canvases -- but they do let me play a bit with color and brushwork, which is a good thing. It's amazing how easy it is to lose a feel for this stuff, and how difficult it is to stay in the zone when you've only got little windows of time here and there.

But what always amuses me is that when I'm away from the work for long I seem to revert to more representational work. I suspect it's because I'm so caught up in the dailiness of life that it's difficult to open up to the wider spaces beyond my imagination. But even when I start with the same gestures I would begin with when painting an abstract, somehow the times when I'm returning to the studio after an absence of a week or more seem to end up producing something that "looks like something."

I don't mind the semi-representational ones exactly -- and I know some of my friends prefer them. But for me they feel forced, like they're just me, limited by what I alone am capable of; they serve as gentle reminders that I'm not in touch with that greater creativity, that source that fuels my work when I am most centered and makes it better than I ever could.

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