Dysfunction in the studio

I don’t usually finish a painting.  I typically get sick of seeing it and hide it from view so that I can forget about it.  I tend to overwork my paintings and often the frustration of my perceived lack of forward movement makes me cuss at the painting—as if it has caused my frustration.

Very few of my paintings and I get along.  And I can be honest, that’s on me.

The personification of my paintings helps because I can navigate the production of the thing in a manner that would be terribly unhealthy if it were with a human.  I am free in this way to make clear decisions that impact the relationship moving forward.  Most of my paintings and I have the worst relationships imaginable.  I tend to fall in love with a composition that is doing me right.  If it’s clear and balanced, if it avoids getting muddy, I’ll court it for ever.

Most of them however, are in a fight with me and one of us will die.  The good news for me is that I hold the brushes (so I always “win”).

When this dysfunctional dance between me and my art is working, I am fearless and don’t see the image as precious.  The image is a means to please me, and if it is not, I have permission to destroy it in any way that I see fit.  Lately that means mixing a dark value and running a jagged line through the heart of the portions that are most offensive to me.  

Portraying the painting as the villain is easy when I’m feeling bold and give myself permission to change the image.

The majority of the time I am the villain.  And the sub conscience evil plot of my internal artistic villain is to birth fear and make me paint safely.  There is no creativity in safe decisions.  

If there is a true hero in the studio, it is the muse that occasionally finds it’s way into the space and plays referee between me and my painting.  The muse pacifies the villain in me; makes me fearless.  The muse reveals her presence on the canvas; a genuine, creative moment in the color/composition of the picture is the evidence of the peaceful moment between me and my work.  

There is no substitute for this moment.  I cannot fake the peace and freedom of inspiration, and no one can perceive peace in the antagonistic moments.  So my pursuit lately, if it can be put into words, is to not be afraid of my work.  Fear has no place in the studio, and the muse won't share the space.