Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The Value of a Second Glance....
My last post fully demonstrated the process whereby I approach a large studio painting. A subject is conceived (usually)through a process of careful preparation... study and distillation and moves slowly towards a constantly changing and emerging ending. That ending can be dramatically different from the reference photo ... or the plein air version. It depends upon what enters into my thinking as "I" work along in "The Flow".
My next project is an extension of a previous project from the last winter painting season. It is a largish canvas as well... begun in somewhat the same manner as "Canadian Gothic". However... I took shortcuts... didn't bother to grid (when the ratios of sketch to canvas were different) because I had a "deadline" to meet to get the requested three paintings off the easel... crated and shipped to the gallery. "I" felt good about the three pieces... in retrospect... likely grateful they were completed and ready to ship. That's where... "the wheels fell off"!
The first disappointment came when I received the large painting back after only days at the gallery... hardly enough time had passed to justify the cost of shipping and effort to get it there. I unpacked the piece and stood it vertically... ignoring it for a couple of days while dealing with the discouragement.During one early morning visit to the studio... I happened to glance over my shoulder in the direction of "orphan".... and there it was... SMACK in my face... the reason for the quick return/rejection.
The canvas and subject were of a horizontal format and in that plane looked.... well... at least half respectable. But in the vertical plane... the painting glared and certainly "spoke" even to "Me" with much less respectability. I was actually shocked that "I" would have not seen these glaring errors... before letting them out for the eyes of qualified "others" to view.It was to "Me"... an embarrassment and something "I" didn't want to look at or revisit again! So the painting has been face-to-wall ever since.
In January... when my wife and "I" were putting together some changes we wished for our personal and artistic lives... we cleared out a bunch of "hangers-on". Many things were delivered the the local Goodwill Centre. I paid a visit to our area where I store older canvases.... tidied it up and went up into our apartment above the gallery where "Winter Residents" was residing in shameful exile.I sat down momentarily and looked at the canvas.This time, however... it was a look to find a solution... rather than the look of condemnation and embarrassment that it had received upon its untimely... and unexpected return. For the first time "I" saw a directions... changes that could make this "child-of-mine" something that "I" could be proud of.
Through viewing the plein air sketch from ten years ago... along side the "failed first large composition and then the corrected version. I hope to usher "You" through the risky but rewarding process through which that painting and I passed through. "I" truly hope that if nothing else is attained through this record... what will emerge is a belief that "Redemption" is ALWAYS possible... where there is (1) a recognition and acceptance that there exists a problem (2)that there exists a deeply felt willingness to work at improvement and (3)that one has the capacity to "let go" and forgive things that happened in the Past. This applies not only to painting... but as well... to all other areas of one's life.This is the true pathway.. to "Inner Peace."
I" hope that "You" enjoy seeing the trio together for comparison... and that perhaps this post might encourage "You" to revisit... and reclaim an earlier disappointment. It is a great feeling to overcome adversity and succeed!
Good Painting to All!