Inner workings of a painter: described

Untitled (Self Portrait).jpg

The journey of this painting took nearly a month of indecision and searching. As a result, I destroyed one painting in the process after 3 white washes of one canvas; thereby starting over completely. One friend to whom I mentioned this to said that was very courageous. I thought so too, but only because I felt no guilt or anger from the fresh start. Process. No feelings of discontent or anger. Just let it be. The new canvas proved to be the right thing to do. I could feel the surface of the canvas again; and how it would inform me of it’s need to be felt.

So what went on in my mind as I was painting this piece, which didn’t have a title prior to the completed art? I was trying to force it into being similar to the first two paintings in the series of Ode to New York. I wanted it to be the same vein at them so there would be a coherence of bold dark thick lines and form with richness in contrast and colours, meanwhile being balanced throughout with areas of confusion pitted against clarity and sharpness. I wanted it to look like the first piece in the series, but it simply would not happen. I felt at times that I had been a failure during this process. How could I not do it again? This gave me the feeling that I should never do a commission.

Midway through the second canvas, I came to a stage of the painting where I thought: yes, this is coming along. I put that thought on hold and continued to paint the surface with a secondary thought: the new work has to have its own identity. It is desperately wanting it’s own character, it’s own voice. The message is different. With that, I took the brush and once again, make marks. I pulled back from the painting and to my dismay, it looked like shit! What the fuck? I took the painting quietly and placed it in the storage area. I didn’t want to look at it again.

The next night as I lied on the sofa, the voice inside said: push it further! I didn’t like the word ‘push’. I corrected the voice with my own and said ‘I’ll work on it more’. With that, I pulled the painting out from the storage area and lied it flat on my painting table. I turned down the lights in the studio to darken the space, while I had a light on in the adjacent room. With that, I started to paint. Something magical happened and I could feel the energy moving through me, transporting the marks onto the canvas. I knew it was coming. Layers of colours went on with a new feeling coming to the canvas. I pulled the painting off from the table and place it on the wall. I felt another colour wanting to make its mark and again, pulled the painting down and laid down the several more marks. Suddenly, there it was.  It was right; it was perfect.

For it’s title, I knew it was a self portrait of me in an abstracted form of disjointed feverish brushstrokes with underlying layers of complexity, but it is an untitled piece; this could be anyone, it could be you, the viewer.

I hope you enjoy the artwork, as much as my journey into self discovery.

My fine art website: http://normyip.com

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