Yesterday, interestingly, all the people who came to my open studio, asked the same question. Each group asked the same question. Even more interesting to me is that every time I am with individuals or groups of people who are asking questions about my work, they usually do ask the same question. Last year, and actually for several years, the question was more about the collage that lies underneath the final painting. This year that was hardly mentioned. The question was: did I know before I started what the painting would be when I finished, did I have a pre-idea about the painting.
The answer is very much yes and very much no. Yes, in that I have feelings about what I want a painting to do. These “ideas” are mostly about weight, mass: how the space and color evolve and create the mass and weight. I don’t want the painting to be referential. That’s very important to me. When I see specific images related to “things”, I call it the kiss of death. I also want the painting to feel large, solid. In my early days, this “feeling” was called monumental.
The answer is very much no because I really do have no idea what the final painting will be. It’s a process of evolution. This is especially true in my recent paintings. I can no longer rely (too much) on what I know works, familiar marks. It’s more experiential. The painting talks to me, tells me what it wants. If I try to do otherwise, it usually is a disaster. And that’s not good. Sometimes it feels like a big surprise, one after another surprising event, sometimes workable, sometimes not, until I give in completely.
Today is the second/last day of Studio Rally. Let’s see what is the question of the day. Maybe it will be the same, maybe different.