On pushing paint…..

Here I am writing instead of pushing paint. The reason being that, as usual, I find myself procrastinating pending my next smear. The painting I am currently working on (a commission) is nowhere near any state of being resolved but, after a few weeks, is now at a critical point of no return. Whatever I do now will throw it in a different direction…hopefully. I have become somewhat disenchanted with it as it stands and the only solution is to turn it upside down, look at it with a new eye, and continue scraping, smearing and manipulating both form and colour in the hope that the current layers of paint (and there are numerous) will suggest, if not show, the way forward. I have a number of unresolved paintings which I haven’t touched in some time…not because I am precious about the marks made to date…far from it…but because I’m not really sure if I want to continue pushing them in the direction they were going. If I leave them alone for long enough perhaps I will be able to see them for what they are…mindless drivel or the beginnings of something worthwhile. Pushing paint is only one solution to this dilemma, but obviously only of value if pushed intelligently…something I’m not always capable of doing. As the saying goes: “…sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits”. Pushing paint is similar. I often find a solution when I am engaged in something other than applying, smearing or scraping paint…like having a wee dram of my favourite Single Malt while listening to Dave Matthews, Salief Keita or Peter Gabriel work their magic way through the scales…or reading Robert Hughes and thinking about what Tapies actually meant to me (especially after having seen the other Antonio’s masterful paintings which hung in the Beaux Art in Brussels in 1985). The trick is to remain engaged, however remote that engagement might be. The other trick is not to get too pissed in the process.

Then of course there’s the happy accident…but that’s another story.


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