March 29, 2011


See, they start out as stain paintings. I'll have to shoot another pic of the one on the floor. It's enjoying itself as a self-contained stain painting. Because it is flat on the floor, it cannot see it's future. It is so naive, so helpless. 

I had to clean up and hi-tail it out of the studio yesterday so I grabbed this shot on the way out. I want to leave this one alone. I am refraining from going back in and cleaning it up or make compositional choices or refinements. I'm being ornery. It's not a make nice have tea and crumpet painting. I don't know what it is. It's acrylic. I'm so homesick for Culver City I can't stand it. I want to go to Nova Color today. That is not probable. 

The odds of me being able to leave this alone are slim. Odds are I will go in with a small brush and knock up some detail. I'm guessing after that, I would feel crappy for being too tight and scrap it and muck around some more. Today is an office day, so it lives another 24 hours. 

Addendum, after comments:
Fortunately today is another office day so it lives another 24 hours. Also, I still have this Protestant work ethic when it comes to painting. This same painting would have taken twice as long to get here in oil, which may have made me feel better. I still feel the need to make it go through 3 transformations before arriving at its final stage. Sometimes, it occurs to me that I just like prolonging the act of painting. Meanwhile, I'll begin work on the others. I wonder what it would be like to have a huge warehouse and 40 large canvases with nothing to do all day but paint— but then I wonder if the daily distractions of life, the office work, and general life maintenance, feed the work to the point that the work would be a vacuum of nothingness without them. I'm sure I'd find a way to create a sense of urgency an stir up trouble, but it's a curious theory.


Steven LaRose said...

Do you really want input?

I wish we could "jam" like musicians do.

Word Veri:

Nomi Lubin said...

Wow, these look fabulous, especially the last one. I can't help saying I hope you leave it. But what do I know. It could get even better if you go back in.

Nothing is ruinable. Or so I like to tell myself.....

Elaine Mari said...

Glorious. Looks like a good time happening.

M.A.H. said...

@SGL, I usually trust my gut, but I'm always interested in how people respond to the work an why. To me that's what a critical discussion about art is, so sure.

@Nomi and Elaine, thanks. I too believe nothing is ruinable. That's part of what my work is about- not placing judgement on "good" or "better" or "bad," with the caveat that it needs to get past "okay." The paintings are about being in the moment, not so much about doctoring up the moment afterwards.
Or so I tell myself. ; )

Nomi Lubin said...

Oh, good. I'm glad you say so, or at least tell yourself too. I thought you might think I'm too goody goody. I worry disproportionately about what you think of me. ;)

It's not that I've never thrown out "failures." Of course I have. But, yes, I do believe that nothing can really be ruined. Only temporarily in distress. Sometimes that temporary lasts years or even indefinitely. But that does not change the fact that all that is needed is to go back in. And maybe in and in and in.

BUT, I try not to believe in torture. No, wait: I do NOT believe in torture. I just can't help torturing myself sometimes. Especially on a long painting that for me is, after the initial thrill of the new, a cruel failure all the way until it somehow somehow passes the magic "good enough" point. The intervening weeks or months are extremely not fun. (Yes, this is why I started making the little non-representational pieces. But that sounds like they are just a release which is inaccurate, so....)

Elaine Mari said...

I liked reading these comments. Makes me feel less alone in my struggly time right now.

mah this part was great to read "my work is about- not placing judgement on "good" or "better" or "bad," with the caveat that it needs to get past "okay." I try to remember that, somedays (like today and yesterday and last week...) it is hard to remember and if I can't remember I get stuck. Seems sometimes I am not sure it is past "good enough". I look at it an think something's happening there, leave it ..but, it's new what's happening, unfamiliar and I am not sure if I'm deluding myself. Your comment helps me get back to being in the moment letting it go for awhile. It's ok afterall, I tell myself, to be making something new for you, it's the thing you want to be doing.

Carla said...

I'm rethinking my willingness to torture paintings. I keep finding photos showing previous versions of paintings, where it seems I was on to something (and I knew this at the time) but I love the process so much and I just can't stop or go back, once I see new directions to take things.

I'm questioning my own cavalier attitude toawrds sacrificing paintings. I almost feel like a sacrifice junkie sometimes. I want to nurture the cool stuff more.

Carla said...

I want to see where more calculated choices can fit in, and how they can. By calculated, I mean within the workings of the painting, not "what will sell?" I do like when my work goes in a direction that is also accessible and presents well on the ole art plantation.

I'm calling it a plantation now, not the art world.

M.A.H. said...

art plantation. I like that.

I think after painting small and incredibly controlled for two years straight, I am finding this to be an honest direction for me. It's sad though, because I was planning on using the recent watercolors as a guide and honestly thought these canvases would be pretty and accessible paintings. Perhaps it is too early to tell. I've thought about trying, see- there i go using the word try- to simplify my paintings or use more subdued palettes, but only for reasons outside of my MO. I have never had a gallery direct me for commercial appeal or give me any input on what they think sells, so I've been on my own for all these years. It might be that simple. I suppose I should make nicer paintings. Maybe I am too old to take risks. Maybe this is not a risk. Maybe I'm just bored with convention.

The painting I regret f*cking with the most is
"slight of hand."

It used to look like this:

I like the last version so much more. I've already exhibited it, but I really want to get it back there again. I won't, because it's over. You can never really go back.

I notice LaRose is biting his tongue about this work... Perhaps I should have posted this in the salon as a virtual studio visit.