Do-Overs

I’ve always liked my paintings to take me on some sort of journey-

To imply ‘somewhere’ just beyond, or a pathway to an undisclosed location. When they just appear to be a final destination, I find them less compelling and kind of lifeless.

After living with it for year, I felt I had to redo the large Bunch painting. It was an interesting technical challenge to get all those overlapping and interlocking blades of grass to make sense, and I worked on it for months- but it seemed like a wall that stopped me cold, rather than invited me into a place. (wasn’t ever crazy about all that yellow either)

It was just an image, not an experience. So in keeping with my new strategy of not adding piles of new smaller paintings to my basement racks, I decided to sand it down and revisit the painting.

Bunch 32×60 oil

I am not quite at the point where it feels like the experience I want to have, but it’s getting closer.   Here are some of the steps forward so far….

Watching the Olympics earlier this year we saw incredible athletes who had trained and worked for the past four years in preparation for their one moment, get only one chance to either advance or see the final result. No matter how prepared, a rut in the ice, a patch of soft snow, a moment of distraction or loss of focus could spell disaster – they couldn’t say “do-over”.

How unlike painting, when I am allowed to sand, scrape and repaint over parts or the entirety of an earlier piece that just didn’t seem to express what I wanted. And I get to do it in the privacy of my basement. Maybe this is why we call making art a “practice”. After 30 years, I’m still practicing. And getting lots of “do-overs”.

About nerskine

I've been a painter for about 30 years. I also draw and make monotypes, linocuts and other prints. I like tangled stuff.
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