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Morning Musings: August, 2023

Jobs: Part 2

morning musings......sept. 7/22

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After a 3 month sojourn in Newfoundland (with tempting rough sketches for new works), I came home to address what I had left off. I am at an ‘enticing’ phase in the development of my 4 Immersion paintings. When I began, I had a broad ‘idea’ of my subject (derived from composite sketches) water surface, depths and immersed entities. From these loose “ideas”, I choose working titles. Superficially, the titles are what the paintings are about: the subject(s). This is as conceptual as my work gets. The titles or ideas, are a resource or point of orientation to which I can return when(not if) I get lost in the material painting process.

The ‘working title’ guides and reminds me of what I want to say in the large sense. My painting methods are how I want to say it, and, the how is more important and the what. The how is what makes the painting mine(a unique nash), the what has been thought about, painted about and considered by many others for centuries.

I would describe my process as echoing improvised jazz. A general idea(subject) initiates the endeavour, resurfaces periodically, and reappears at the end. It is during the ‘in-betweens’ of start, middle and end, that the freedom of invention occurs(forms/spaces/edges/colours/values/textures/marks etc. the whole gamut of what paint matter can achieve. For those needing a formula or recipe: the content of the paintings = the initial idea(what/subject) + the way I paint it(how/form).

When this process works for me, I go as far as I can and consider the painting resolved. When the process does not work(either I strayed far from the initial idea(meaning) and got lost, or the task no longer excites me. Then, no matter how much has been invested, or how hard I try, it’s best to put the painting away. Later(months, years…) I can see if it speaks to me again, or, if the material surface is amenable, can I move it into another direction?

At present, I have 4 paintings about 75% resolved. It is an exciting place for me, since the risks are high. I can easily lose what I have gained by over-statement, unnecessary additions/exclusions, faulty tempo/speed, bad choices, or not seeing something that can negate or contradict what I want the painting to reveal. Ultimately, I am responsible for the total experience, successful or not.

Stay tuned for the next phase, and I will try not to disappoint.

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