10.02.2008

From Robert Genn

Sage advice from Robert Genn:


Shuffle the deck. When working on a series, go back to half- or nearly-finished pieces in a random order.

Mix and match. The transposition of motifs from one work to the next gives power to a series.

Commit and correct. Don't know what to do next? Commit yourself anyway--in the full knowledge that your effort can be changed. While it's good to look three times, think twice and paint once, it's often valuable to make a move rather than to interminably stew about making a move.

Overshoot and cut in. When going for the magic of negative shapes, try to set yourself up to cut into rather than to paint up to. It's not always possible to make this happen, of course, but when you do it's the efficient way to find expressiveness.

Black and white...When the black and white pattern of a painting holds together, the work will be more convincing in colour.

Let it cure. Giving half-finished work a chance to be by itself for a while permits the artist to be surprised by both its felicities and its faults.

Slip into elan (meaning vivacity and impetuousness). Variations in brush speed brought on by pressure, impatience, flow-mode, dream-mode or showmanship can cause an effect known as "surface confidence." A convincing casualness trumps weak, stuffy or overworked surfaces. Elan is the golden mark of professionalism. It carries with it the truth that our main job is to connect.


Aren't these the very problems I've been discussing? Genn fairly often writes (serendipetously) about the very issues I'm fretting over WHILE I'm fretting over them. This bit: "it's often valuable to make a move rather than to interminably stew about making a move" is really useful right now.

But most valuable to me these next few weeks will be "commit and correct". I took three paintings into the gallery Wednesday, so what I have now are a number of unfinished and somewhat mediocre paintings and I don't have any solid plans or inspiration for what's coming next. So, as Genn says, I can commit and correct--just go for it and trust that I have skills enough to shape a work that isn't workig very well. Or.... my natural (untrained?) inclinations are to experiment with new techniques and ideas until I find something worth gettig excited over. That sounds better to me.

My creative tanks are a little empty right now though, and I had a metaphorical fiasco with the gas tank on a borrowed Mercedez this morning to prove it. Like the universe said "hmmm... look Madara, your tank is empty and not only that, but it's going to be really f-ing difficult to get in there to fill it up. In fact, you'll have to look through 17 users manuals just to eventually figure out that it was really just a simple turn of the cap all along." So pithy, that bit about the power to go home being with us all along, but true.

Tomorrow morning, before I return the Mercedez, I think I'll rearrange and clean the studio. That always seems to do something good for me. You know, a clean slate sort of thing.

And as if I haven't posted enough pictures of this halibut, here's the final product now hanging in the gallery:
And I decided to raise my prices a bit. My instinct tells me I can do it... although my brain is really fighting me on the idea. But this one is good. I think...

Doubt likes to call at this hour.

I have a do not disturb sign on my door...
I named it "Swimming in Gustav's Ocean" since that's what I was doing.