Friday, February 20, 2009

Tree of Life

I'm having ambivalent feelings towards this piece - I usually work on a painting steadily over several days or a couple of weeks from start to finish. This piece has dragged on for months for a variety of reasons, mostly beyond my control, but one of the reasons is that I've allowed the image to become overly precious to me and I've fussed and redone parts of it repeatedly, trying to perfect it. This is a problem I was warned about early on during my art training. My instructors in college helped students overcome this by having us quickly create a work in clay (for sculpture class and ceramics), then destroy it, make another, destroy it, make another, destroy it, etc. Through this process we could see that no matter how fond we were of the original piece, subsequent pieces usually improved upon the original and the final piece was significantly better than the first. No amount of fussing with the original would yield as good a result as starting over, more than once or twice if necessary.

As for the painting - I've changed various parts of the face repeatedly, especially the eyes and skin tone, and recently had the thought that what I was feeling was probably similar to what Michael Jackson was feeling when he realized that rather than enhancing his appearance, all those plastic surgeries were destroying his looks to the point of him becoming irreversibly freakish.

I'm setting the work aside for a few weeks and will re-evaluate then. In the meantime, I'll hoist a fresh canvas onto the easel and see where that leads me.

1 comment:

andrea said...

It's a kind of creative micro management whose results are usually only noticeable to the artist of the work. I find that, as time passes, I do this less and less. But if you want to pack it in and give it to ME then I'd be happy to carry the burden of keeping it safe. I LOVE this piece in all its incarnations.