Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Next Painting, and the next, and the next

Q: Why are no two paintings alike? "Are you just trying to be eclectic?"

Maybe progressive is a better word, the person who asked the second question suggested.

One reason is that I am too lazy to keep a log of my techniques. So I cannot replicate any method exactly, so I can't make the same painting again.

Because I am self-taught, I don't know how to mix paints properly. So once I use a color, it is used up. There is no real chance for a series based on color to emerge, only color palettes, I guess.

The idea that follows that is the leftover paint I have made: I don't want to waste it, so I immediately use it on the next canvas. This leads to a progression, a continuum of ideas, So the endpoint of each painting is something different.

I think de Kooning said something along the lines of no painting ever being finished. I like to think of that continuum being seamless. A color jumps from one canvas to the next, any element that may emerge is recycled and reborn on the next canvas. A method I have experimented with ends up reiterated immediately.

Overall, like many abstract expressionists, I don't have an idea of what I am going to paint. So if a painting session ends and I like that layer, and I like how it dries (the cold weather is a godsend for letting the paint do what it wants), then I'll stretch that canvas. I've got a general goal, just nothing plotted or drawn.

And that's why the vaguely symbolist paintings starting in 98 gave rise to the techno-collages which gave rise to glass paintings which gave rise to the mixed media paintings, which have evolved into the large canvases of the recent years. It's a macroevolutionary sequence with some transitional forms still evident despite the appearance of punctuated equilibrium (sound familiar?)

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