Saturday, January 31, 2009

Retracing My Mis-steps

For several months, my energy has been consumed by my enamel paintings. Even when I haven't been working on them, I've been recovering from the physical damage the toxic medium wreaks on me. However, now that I've managed to set up a better process to complete the works – it's just a matter of slow, steady, well assisted production – I am, at last, able to think about new work.
These large-scale, enamel-on-board paintings – which are very deliberately glossy and seamless, as if manufactured rather than hand-wrought – have revived my interest in small, obviously hand-made works. They have also inspired a desire to show, somehow, the history of how each was created within the completed work: the ideas, structure, initial marks, even mistakes. I'm tired of trying to hide all trace of me beneath a flawless surface.
When I was at art school, I was criticised for not making 'process' drawings. Too conscious of time passing quickly, I didn't see the point of them. I visualised sketches instead and worked each piece over and over (sometimes to the point of destruction). I wanted to obscure or even eradicate any hint of process.
Now I write detailed notes on ideas (and different media) I want to explore. As I experiment with each, I sketch and document the various stages of their evolution and try to leave traces of myself – and my mis-steps – within the work.
I end up with a record of my original thinking and of the artisan trial and error to translate it into art. I'm learning to value the process and value the learning I gain from it.
It's surely better than throwing it all away and forgetting about it once I've finished.


Fi said...

Yes, it's all about the process, all about the journey, making sure you look around while you're on the trip otherwise you're missing everything ...

It's taken me loads of time to learn this. Because I'm born of impatience - a butterfly mating with a hummingbird, flutter flutter flutter - I've rushed to Get Stuff Finished, to have created the end result and get it out there for the world to appreciate LOL! My biggest learning curve in this respect was experiencing intense intense intense frustration at not seeming to be able to Get On With a particular play I was writing ... no matter how I tried I just felt I was Getting Nowhere, even though I was putting a huge amount of drafting and jotting, retracing and evaluating, researching and hybridding new strategies, into it ... then one morning when I feared I might implode I suddenly thought 'what am I getting so upset about, I've just given myself a masterclass in alternative strategies' ... I relaxed, let the river flow ... I didn't yet finish the play because other commissions and opportunities turned up at the door, but it wasn't wasted time, not at all.


Fi said...

Oh, goddamn!

I forgot to say that Retracing My Mis-steps is my favourite piece of your art here on the blog so far ...

That it's been great reading and responding to your blog ... and now I better go and do some of that writing work hahahaha!

Look forward to my next visit