Heres a Norway picture that wouldn’t die! • September 20, 2017
I relearned an old, old picture making lesson yesterday: nothing can be precious.
If I fall in love with any portion of a picture, and it’s not helping that picture as a whole, I’ll have a harder time nixing it. And it’s very likely that I’ll ruin the rest of a picture by trying to make it fit with its mismatched part! That’s backwards.
Luckily, this picture wouldn’t die, even as out of balance as it was and as much as I messed with it. To begin with, it looked like this yesterday morning:
Yikes, that surface was so visually active that it was almost wiggly, but the wild staccato of textures and tone everywhere completely short-circuited the whole image. I’m exhausted just looking at it.
Yet there was wonderful work in there. And you may notice pieces of scrap, inky paper propped up along the bottom and taped on in the middle right. When in trouble, I start gluing. Some call it cheating, and others call it collaging. I just build pictures. But I also call in my Sweetie and several dear friends when I’m confused. “What should I do,” I ask, oh poor, poor me.
One member of my advisory board said I should just cut out the good parts and make a couple little pictures. These was her suggestions:
Yep, she was sure right, and do you see what I mean? Such lovely work in there, but I didn’t want to butcher my picture. I wanted to fix it. How?
And now, for a quick aside: you must understand that I paint in the middle of a big mess. Well, let me just show you instead of trying to describe it:
This is normal for me. In fact, it’s a bit cleaner than usual. Uh huh, truth.
There are always piles of scrap paper and cut up pieces of old, failed paintings on my work table. I just keep clearing space to continue slinging ink, until I’m feeling so crowded that I have to tidy up. This doesn’t happen often, and what that really means, is that I have big supply of collage material right at hand.
Now, just after my friend said it was time to subdivide, I noticed a big piece of blotchy paper. I didn’t even know how it got there or what it was once part of, but it was propped up as if waiting for me. And I realized it could span clear across the bottom half my troubled painting. I taped it in place and this is what it looked like:
WOW, WOW, WOW!! I mean, I could almost hear the whole image snap together.
And I felt disappointed with myself. Of course the really active background in my picture needed something big, bold and simple in the foreground. Why didn’t I see that?
And just to throw in yet another and, I felt uncomfortable with taking advantage of this little discovery of mine. I mean, is such huge happenstance really fair?
Phew, okay, I got that out – now I can move on!
My goal is pictures and momentum, thus the rest of my tale points straight forward – I cut off the bottom of my painting, then sanded and spliced in my miracle patch. Of course, I couldn’t just leave it at that! I’m me, and I have a hard time quitting, so I fussed; collaging in other bits and pieces, scrapping, sanding and painting a little more.
NOW, I think I’m done – and I’m a looooong way from where I started too!
That’s yesterdays tale. Now it’s time to continue with the next one –
Your Buddy Bill
PS: one more goofy thing – which I don’t understand at all. Many of my pictures look just as good (or even better) upside down! What?