Thursday, March 21, 2013

Play, Don't Produce

Time will tell about yesterday's painting.  I went out with the same attitude as the day before (or tried to):  Just capture color, attend to tone, stay loose.  I liked it at the end, but who knows how I'll feel today. 

I liked the feeling of just responding, taking stabs, being open to unusual things happening.  Letting them happen.  I liked that the painting seems to have a balance of thick and thin paint—I gobbed it on at the end.  (Not intentionally; just in a responding mode.)  Again, I may end up feeling that it failed, but it was done in a spirit of experimentation, and that has to be good enough on any given day.

It's pretty crucial, when I'm painting at this rate, to remind myself to "play, don't produce."  Ironically, it's a tall order, because you want to do a good job—creating something ugly is painful.  But if you don't play, you don't open yourself up to interesting things: you don't grow, you don't experiment, and there's no surprise in your work. 

What a strange discipline.  It's not enough to stay focused on the rules.  Rather, you need to keep the many rules in mind (for example, keep a balance among the infinity of things that need to stay in balance, etc.), but primarily you need NOT to adhere to any preconception of how things should go.  Stay open; don't rely on formula; play.

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