Tuesday, September 18, 2012
When to wipe?
The inspiration that we have for a painting is something that may be fleeting initially. A glimpse of movement, a flash of light, a colour contrasting against another - they spark off ideas that build in our heads until we have to get it down on paper or canvas.
Of course there is where the treacherous road begins. Sometimes the inspired idea flows off the brush as if it has a life of its own. Each stroke is genius, each colour perfect, each value precise and it all falls into place easily. Then there are other times when the vision in our head doesn't flow as easily onto the support. Brushes become clumsy tools, the paint colours aren't right, the values look amateurish. Where is the point of no return? When do you admit defeat and wipe the canvas to start again?
Each of us knows when we produce good work and as intuitively we know when we're headed down the path to mediocre or bad work. There comes a point when looking at what is produced so far, considering time invested and the potential for success, you know a decision must be made whether to forge ahead or cut your losses and run.
Most paintings go through an ugly duckling stage. You know it. Its when its all gangly legs, big head and clumsy feet, but you know that if you push through, it will emerge on the other side transformed. You also know that sometimes the ugly duckling will never fledge.
That is the case with this painting ghost. I started with promise then the greens monster attacked and wouldn't let me find the right greens for the riverbanks. The gods of water refused to allow the surface to reflect the wetness of the river. I knew it was pointless to continue and wiped the painting.
The support this was painted on was new to me, Ampersand Artist Panel with a canvas texture, that to me seems more like stucco than canvas and I'm not sure if I like it or not yet. Perhaps that was part of the problem. The wipe back left some paint in the pockets of the texture, giving a ghost-like appearance to the remaining surface, like a softly coloured underpainting. I think I will try this again and see if the next version can overcome the brain/reality challenges and meet my vision.