Thursday, February 12, 2009

Overturned Stones

This idea of crappy painting in the beginning always reminds me of Anne Lamott, the Bay Area writer who said "I always do a shitty first draft" I think about that a lot when beginning a painting. It's much easier and in the end, because you don't care, there sometimes results 
some remarkable passages of paintings. Although then those become precious and then I spend all morning painting around the good parts which in time wrecks them. So I try to extend the period of time that I "don't care" and try not to think too hard. All parts of the painting at all times are open to change or destruction. No parts should be off limits. I think about how sensitive I can be..How can this feel more raw, more alive? What the hell am I doing? Sometimes I feel like someone is going to blow a whistle and cart me off to a more typical job. One with boundrys, a coffee machine and maybe even an  elevator I can take up and down to work. Total insecurity coupled with absolute certainty. This much I know to be true. 

ABSTRACT CROPING2


11 comments:

Angela Wales Rockett said...

Anne Lamott is one of my favorites - such wisdom about the process.

You've really captured the perverse dichotomy of being an artist - absolute certainty coupled with, at times, almost paralyzing insecurity.

I just read something recently that was something like "the only difference between fear and joy is action". That's how we get through this I think.

Nicholas Wilton said...

Angela, yes thats it. I tend to eat snacks on the way to painting..I sometimes end up going by the cupboard twice and then I catch myself realizing I am avoiding jumping in---Once I am in I am WAY in but getting there sometimes can take awhile.

Suzanne Lewis said...

That is so true for me too about the snacks-- only mine are gummy bears. I line them up and snitch one at a time. Red ones are my favs. However, I could clean the cat box several times before I get myself into the studio! I've heard Annie L. speak of this as well. The crazy thing is that once I'm into the work, I beat myself up for not getting in there sooner because I'm having such a blast. It's nuts. I'm glad I'm not alone in this.

Diane McGregor said...

Nicholas, You have really expressed this well, beginning a painting, trying to keep those good passages, trying to make them fit, when sometimes you MUST destroy the very best parts of the painting in order for it to live and breathe. I love Angela's comment about being an artist, "absolute certainty coupled with, at times, almost paralyzing insecurity." I don't feel so alone. Thanks, guys.

Suzanne Lewis said...

Nick, will you show us how these most recent paintings turn out? Thanks!

gonzales said...

as an artist myself who works similar, process wise, i find it refreshing to hear the way you articulate it. i too try and save elements from the beginning and want to work around them. doesn't work. i've learned to just buck up and keep working over it and find that during the process the results come out better, sometimes. ha. thanks for sharing. big fan.

Best,
Frank Gonzales

Nicholas Wilton said...

Frank- so easy for me to write about what I should do but just yesterday spent several hours painting around parts! Then duh I finally went and started working the whole painting not just parts...so hard to remember!

Rebecca Crowell said...

I think my earlier attempt to leave a comment failed...anyway, i'll try again--you say all of this so well, and we all seem to relate to it, including the last entry about knowing what you should or want to do, and then going and doing the opposite. It's a lot like the spiritual/consciousness journey in that way I think. The important thing is to be aware of what you are doing or not doing, and the rest will follow. And however you get there--you certainly wind up with beautiful paintings!

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