New Work

June 16, 2022

What is Too Precious?


Recently I've been embarking on a deep dive into abstract expressionism? intuitive painting? slapping paint on the canvas (read: board)? And in every piece I've created so far, I come to point where I suddenly discover I'm using a small brush, less than a #8, on paint mover or palette knife and am faffing about, trying to preserve sections I'm already in love with (or think might work in the whole...see? already conceptualizing the end product). And in every single case, I am, probably, less than halfway finished. It's a problem. 

And that's where a painting becomes Too Precious. 

I start visualizing the end result vs reacting to what's in front of me. My decisions are based on a preconceived, even vague, notion where intuition and emotion and flow go right out the window. The piece becomes stifled, ending up with PIECES I love but the whole isn't cohesive. The eye sticks at those pretty bits OR on the rest of the unresolved, "less than" whole. 

The work above had some lovely things going on but you can see the start of that "preciousness" in the bottom right hand corner. I LOVE those leaves. And I started wanting to preserve them. So I started limiting marks and paint and the whole thing became this rigid framework.

What to do? Well. I'm trying two things. The first is to STOP. Sometimes that means putting the painting aside and ponder it, not head on but from the side, quick glances as I pass by, noticing where my eye goes (usually to the uncomfortable, needing work bits). And...or...I take mark making tools, pencils, pens, oil pastel, or my favourite, Woody Stabilos and write or scribble over the parts I LOVE. I know.  It's hard! I confess, sometimes it feels horrible as I sully those bits that have already attached to my heart. But that's just it. They are BITS. The WHOLE thing has to work. And so I scribble and mark away. This is often the precursor to me setting it aside as I figure out, "Okay. Now what?"

Another that is sitting, waiting for my next move:

Maybe your experience is different (and I'd love to hear about it - TELL ME below!), maybe you're able to create something cohesive but I  haven't been able to resurrect it once I've let a piece become Too Precious.

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