Friday, January 14, 2011

About the Time It Takes

I have been asked many times about the time it takes to make a painting. The answer is that it varies a great deal and another answer is that I really don’t know. I have written a couple of times about work started twenty or so years ago which I am finishing now. I have had that experience before, of putting something aside because I am not sure of where I want to go with it and it’s usually about not feeling capable of fulfilling what I see as its potential. And then one day, kind of miraculously, I look at the work and know exactly what it needs. I feel able of carrying the work to a satisfying resolution. My guess is that the learning that happens as one plods on plus some clarity that comes with time make the magic. I also wonder if at some level the brain is just doing its work while one is at other tasks. That would be nice.

These works that are coming together now are still not easy but they are clear. I know what I want from them and feel sure of the path I am taking. But there is always that shadow of uncertainty, that question that hovers behind the vision. I believe I will forever be haunted by the desire to create something that will be universally embraced, so perfect in its appearance (remember, visual art is about appearances), so strong and effective, that it will bring my viewers to rain abundant praise on me. And of course these masterpieces would be best-sellers.

Okay, got a little carried away there; fantasy has always been my preferred leisure activity. To get back to the original question of the time it takes, I would have to say it takes a long time and a lot of determination and maybe a little bit of madness to produce a work of art worthy to be called such. A lifetime of trial and effort and one after another of works that are not quite the miracles that one is after. It’s a really nice lifetime.

The image above is of more of the current works in progress. These have had some of their final embellishments, but not all. They measure 26” x 20” each and are painted and collaged on a heavy etching paper.

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