Thursday, July 05, 2007

I think I have developed a psychological tic that makes it almost impossible for me to finish a painting. As I get towards the end of piece I start to feel like I am experiencing the scene from Alice Through the Looking Glass where whenever she tries to walk into the house the path "gives a sort of leap and shakes itself" and she finds herself walking in the other direction: right back into the garden. Each time I start down the back-stretch with this piece I see another path out of the corner of my eye. Screech, turn, let's just see what's down this road before we go home...and before you know it another priceless week of time is gone and I have a bigger problem on my hands than I had before since each new addition to the piece has to be synthesized into the whole. There is always the nagging question - am I making it better: giving it greater and deeper dimension, more resonant color, images, rhythms - or am I making it (shudder) worse? And - am I really driven by artistic ambition of the highest kind: the kind that wants and needs to make every piece that comes off the brush glorious - or is it vanity - this another instance of the human need to deny limitation? I generally feel horrible when I conclude a painting since it means my living connection to the work is gone (I think I 've talked about that before on this blog) As I come to the end of a piece I feel the umbilical cord start to shrivel; perhaps these endless efforts to forestall the end are just that: another human spirit dodging, twisting, weaving, denying the inevitability of death. Or maybe I should just get my butt out to the studio and finish the damn thing.

The day before yesterday:

This is the original study. I painted this on location twenty years ago -almost to the day.

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