Take a look if you’ve a moment!
Take a look if you’ve a moment!
I dunno why really but the impending ‘end of year’ schtick impels me to ‘tidy’ stuff up. It probably stems from the ‘bad old days’ (that were pretty ok really) when I was employed and the Christmas/New Year break seemed a good time for clearing decks and finishing projects. Now of course I’m in the fortunate position that one day is pretty much like another but the impulse lives on. So I’m trying to ‘complete’ (only to my own satisfaction naturally) the works that have been kicking about for the past few months or in some cases years. Its probably just as well as otherwise quite a few might never get sorted.
‘schedule’ – don’t make me laugh…it’s hardly that. Nonetheless I dug out this series (still another 100 or so in the work pile) a few days back and chose a few I felt were nearing a kind of conclusion if not a proper resolution. And now I’ve done four more to take it to a hundred – a sort of milestone I guess – and all well ahead of the festive season so hence the ‘schedule’ notion albeit only in my head.
It’s difficult to know what constitutes efficiency in the matter of painting. After all a good deal of the ‘magic’ resides in the capture of time. Of course this can be accomplished in a matter of moments (although even the experts in this probably often have longueurs between actions) but for some of us the endless prevarications, adjustments and alterations are very much part of the process. Nonetheless with some pictures it takes me months to sort them out to my satisfaction, perhaps that’s why I have so many on the go at any time. Add to that occasional periods of ill health and the onset of the winter (cold studio, poor light…) and things can take a dickens of a time.
I can’t really explain why this seems important right now but it does. So I’m reading a good deal, mainly poetry (of which I have a pretty decent, if rather ancient for the most part, collection). When a fragment takes my fancy and fits with the emerging form of the painting I’m working on (as usual there are several on the go) then it is plucked from it’s context and put to work around the edges.
How the originator might feel I do not know, but for the most part, so far, those chosen have shuffled off this mortal coil. In Tomas Tranströmer‘s case some four years back but I like to think he wouldn’t have minded too much…
Do you have as untidy a studio as mine? I only ask because I’ve been trying for quite a while now (the very decent Climate Change weather helped…the studio can be perishing in mid-winter) to do some housekeeping. Tucked away in back a bunch of smaller canvases that, for whatever reason, never got fully resolved. Including these two from back in the day…well five years or so ago. Around the time I was working on a bunch of big canvases (well biggish nowadays) that showed at the Carnival Of Monsters in Beeston, Nottingham in 2014. These had started out as the continuation of the Conversation Pieces that in turn began back in the late noughties but altered tack during the painting process erasing the more biomorphic forms with a renewed interest in formalism (albeit of a cranky kind). I say biggish because at 7 by 5 foot they would have been considered fairly tiddly back in the days I was a student at Birmingham where the legacy of John Walker was writ large – literally so!
But alongside the bigger pieces I made these smaller panels, indeed I made several even smaller still. Getting them out suggested they might have made the cut…excepting that they needed a small adjustment here and there which is exactly what they’ve just been given. Are these new completed works to be dated 2014/19 or is that as pretentious as I’ve always thought it to be when seen about the place..?
Nobody much writes about the long slow slog that most painters experience. I know some – Sidney Nolan was one such – can work at a lick to completion. I’m not one. I wrote before the festive season about completing pieces ahead of the break. And naturally enough failed with several I had hoped would now be behind me. Picking up the plot at this distance (an extra two week gap whilst we were in Cornwall) is a bit of a slog.