The painting, begun on 11th October, has been taken to a point where I am thinking of it as being finished. I have to look at it, reflect over a period of time to see if it gains strength in itself, or falls short and if so, work out in what way it seems to fall short. The painting can still be continued, as is always the case, things can never be fully worked out, there is no perfection, only imperfections, such is painting, such is life. So the painting I see as now being a picture of indefinite suspension, the present instant, appearing as if floating. Floating perhaps in the same way that paleolithic paintings are said to appear to float on cave walls, with only the context of the rock surface to give them anchor; perhaps at their deepest core asking that same ageless question. What is it to be alive – and to be here at this exact, indefinable, invisible but palpable moment?
The painting so far has taken me over two months to actually paint. Obviously, time was also taken before painting in the procurement and preparation of the support. A photographic record has also been kept at all stages, which required a lot of patience and expertise. Throughout there have been considerations of time of year. Some days light levels in the studio have been too low to photograph properly, and the day length itself is at its worst as I use mainly daylight to paint. At this time of year, the studio is too cold to work in for very long, and adequate heating would be too costly to maintain in such a large space. The Summer is so much easier, and better, though the difficulties in themselves provide a new framework; for example I have had to slow down the painting to a crawl, a frustrating suspension at times but that at least allows me to get in between the spaces of it and the thinking of it even more. Sometimes it all gets too intense – I don’t take any time off, no weekends or holidays, all is a continuum. Truth is I am quite a recluse. This MA gives me a completely new stance to work from.
New considerations have entered the field of thought:
In this latest phase of the painting the traces a pathway diagonally across the field. The line wanders randomly in places, sometimes on this walk (Bach’s Andante- see not to self at end of post), the line visits certain loci, referencing details of the field visible or imagined; invisible. This walk is about the visible invisible realm. I know that Paul Klee talked about taking a line for a walk too. In places, the line seems to suggest writing, which was deliberate.
This is the first time I have tried to suggest writing across a painting being acutely aware that this could, in fact, destroy the taciturn element that is so much a part of the painting’s identity. When an audience is given obvious text in a painting, then that is what they will typically notice first, The painting becomes secondary; in a way diminished. I dare to suggest text, go to the very edge in a matter which could compromise or even sacrifice the painting entirely. The fact that the picture can be looked at equally from any orientation states that the apparent text is first and always a part of the painting first, it came out of the painting.
I am happy with the painting as it is, that is all. It exists as it is, that is enough. Though I knew exactly what I was doing, the painting is also an experiment in being brought to point where I have not been before. It is unfamiliar to me in this sense, even though I made it.
I become now its audience; I watch it, live with it, think about it. This is how it is.
Whitman again, taken from the wonderful Section 20 of Song of Myself:
Begin to extend visual, curating sound/music element as in Florian playing the Bach Andante for solo Violin. Andante meaning walking, in keeping with the above. Also biographical explanation Florian, also the rediscovery of the manuscripts for Bach’s Sonata’s and Partitas for Solo Violin, which I did a series of drawings and structures – wrapped pieces. Also remember my wood and wool anthropomorphs, in relation to the line is a thread etc etc