Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Making History: Leaving Marks

"Angel 8"  by Jim Carpenter, 6.5" x 4.5"

The Process Of Aging: Leaving Marks

This painting which I am titling "Angel 8" for the time being, is small. That is, it is small by comparison to what it was a few hours ago.

You may have noticed I've skipped from Day 16 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Day Painting Challenge to Day 21. That's how long it took for this painting to arrive. The original start had  been around for several years, painted blue and 11" x 22." I scrubbed it back and cut it in half weeks ago. In the last five days I must have painted it and then taken the painting back down to the raw paper at least 4 times. This is how my paintings get that aged look that I like so much. Each time I remove paint some elements are left behind - the scratches, the lines, the most stubborn layers of paint embed a history into the paper. 

I don't set out to do this - that is, I don't say, "Ok, I'll paint this and then destroy it 5 times and then finish it." Each pass I am hoping will release the painting. But sometimes that's what it takes.  That and an "ah ha" moment. 

Ah Ha: History Repeats Itself

For me this time the "ah ha" moment came when I realized that maybe the part of the painting I was really focused on was the essence of the painting and that the rest of the painting, though nice, was a distraction. Did I learn nothing from my own blog post on Day 15? All it took was finding mat corners to frame the area and I could see that I needed (once again) to crop the painting and that (once again) the image was exactly 6.5" x 4.5." What's that all about?  

I still like what is left behind of the 11" square. I may be able to use what's left for the next few paintings in the challenge. But what I'm learning from this process - two paintings in a row now - is that when the painting isn't working as a whole and I really like two different sections of the painting that maybe I have more than one painting going on in one space. It is a matter of composition. Sometimes I may be playing with composition and wanting to split the viewer's focus, but it didn't feel right today, and I sensed a need to zero the focus in on one grouping.