Monday, 19 May 2008

One v many

A follow on from the previous two on canvas making and serial production.

When I had made the canvasses last week, I made a few at once. It makes sense once you got going to do so: not much cleaning inbetween, etc. On Saturday, however, I only took one with me to the studio.

There was some deliberate logic behind it. That logic went along the lines of: take your time, dear, just keep working on one and not on several at once. Part of that logic was trying to be more thorough, another part was my apprehension to another round of friendly jokes at 'Go, Gesa, Go!' as I'm - maybe except Chris - the only one in the group who works on more than one painting at a time. In fact, several do work on the same painting for 8 or ten weeks. I simply don't.

The road to the blue trees WIP Detail
The road to the blue trees, WIP, Mixed media collage
70x50 on board, Detail
I work on the same theme for a long time. I also do a whole number of colour, composition and value studies of the theme for ages before I start painting. But when I start painting, three or four paintings at once just about feel right.

And you know what: I should have stuck to that. Should have taken the other canvasses with me, too.

So, slowness is part of it, but in a kind of not very obvious way - it's the slowness on working towards the oil paintings through pencil, ink, gouache and acrylics; it's also a slowness in going back to the painting several weeks after I last touched it. But that's combined with a distinct and deliberate moving quickly between different paintings in one session.

What does that result in? I don't know, but it feels right. It feels right as it makes each painting less precious, less singular and thus possibly more spontaneous? It means I don't worry about whether that line is right, that value is spot on or whether that mark is precisely the way I want it. It becomes clear in a muddled kind of way.

So, one v many is quite possible one in many.


vivien said...

I too like to work on several canvasses at once - when unsure where to go with something I can simply continue with another and leave it to look at with a fresh eye next day.

Also there are times when you need to let paint dry before you can continue.

I think they also feed off each other as I work in series.

Work in your own natural way :>)

Artists With Artitude said...

And that's the real secret of artistic genius: it feels right!

Very nice.. I work on several pieces at the same time too :)

Gesa said...

Thank you so much, you two. I smiled when I received the email notification of your comments. Yes - feeding off each other is a good way of expressing it.