|Off The Beaten Path|
4" x 4" Acrylic and chalk pastels on 3/4" MDF Board
I finished the above piece today (see 1st pic) and once again, the outcome was a total surprise to me. For starters I began with a totally different idea. I painted a path, some side hills and the back mountains and sky. My plan was for flat blocks of color with a very hard edged figure placed at the foot of the path. Well, I got my ideas crossed and before I knew it I had decided to sand the block to get some marks and texture. I started looking around for a figure to put in the scene. My first effort didn't work and so I had to re-gesso and re sand the block. (Note to self-DO NOT make pen marks until figure is how it should be!) This was actually OK because it forced me to totally abandon any ideas or marks that I might have been hanging on to. And actually this is the point of this post. I am finding that for this type of work, having a real concrete vision of what the block should look like is really detrimental to the outcome. I totally lose all perspective and spontaneity once I start thinking like that. Case in point is the sanding direction that I chose initially-horizontal only. OK, but then just for the hell of it I went diagonally and got really excited by the lines and spaces that were created. And to further my point here, after applying more paint I obscured those marks (pretty much) with further directional sanding which turned out to be even better (to me). Those clouds sort of got created where there was only blue sky before and I found some darker lines to further support some shapes. Those darker lines led me to try the chalk pastel pencils which also proved to be a good reinforcing tool when used judiciously. You just can't go over and over them I guess without a fixative of some sort I guess.
So, these three pieces have been exciting for me to make. I included them all to illustrate my next point which is this: what about the same style or concept over and over again? To me, the draw is the push and pull of ambiguity versus more concrete things. The figures are obviously figures (concrete) but it's their attitudes that interest me (open to interpretation). The latest figure seems determined somehow to me and that is exciting. The really amazing thing is that I took that figure out of its original context and placed it in another situation and got a totally different idea. But could you stand a whole room full of this? A whole exhibit? And so I am considering technique change ups or how I might switch up this concept. Of course, given what I mentioned above about preconceived notions, I may not know just yet what to do. Which again, for lack of a better adjective, is exciting to me. It's very different from how I am as a person and how I learned (am learning) how to paint. But it won't be the only style I ever utilize. For now though, the sanding and painting and fitting-puzzle-pieces-together nature of this process is interesting enough to keep going.
Thanks for reading and commenting,