Thursday, December 31, 2015

Recovering as a painter and self

Uncover: I just realized that when I began my large painting (below) I was in a very different emotional state.  This painting began as an acrylic painting using a short poem I wrote.  The early image reminded me of a figure with wings and I was not happy with that direction, especially the symmetry of the top section.

below:  Untitled Acrylic on Canvas  4' x 6' Triada Samaras 2015
A figure with wings?

Next it became an exploding  figure mirroring my emotional self at that time.  Recently I could not finish what I had started because I am much calmer now and more integrated.  I loved the old image and might try to re-do it, but it was a disturbing to engage with. It felt impossible to live with it any longer as I am out of the place right now.  

above:  Untitled Acrylic on Canvas  4' x 6' Triada Samaras 2015
Exploding figure phase.

above: Untitled Acrylic on Canvas  4' x 6' Triada Samaras 2015
The right arm disappears.

above right:  Untitled Oil on Canvas  4' x 6' Triada Samaras 2015
An oval emerges. The figure disappears.

Then I switched to oil paint, frustrated with the feeling of the acrylics.  And the smell.  Recently the painting changed direction completely   It has become self-contained: an oval shape, holding all the chaos that was formerly coming out of the human form (myself).  I can see the direct effects of my recovery on my art and part of the process is letting new things happen that replace the old ones.  But I question whether I should have let the old image go in purely visual terms. The oval does not convey the same excitement.  At least not yet that is. I need to get the figure back.  

above:  detail Untitled Oil on Canvas  4' x 6' Triada Samaras 2015
A detail.

right:  Untitled Oil on Canvas  4' x 6' Triada Samaras 2016

The figure begins to re-appear.

Each successive change in my canvas marks a shift in consciousness.  Unlike acrylic paint, oil paint has a mind of its own.  I like that aspect: the fact that the paint can decide on its own even if I can not.  It is like the undertones and overtones of a beautiful piece of piano music. Schumann and Chopin come to mind.  All the things the composer perhaps never anticipated, the breathing sounds of the players, the creaks and shifts in the instruments.  These things take on a life of their own.  And with oil paint the same thing happens. The brush strokes' direction, the tiny shifts in color, all take on a life of their own.  

                                            above:  Untitled Oil on Canvas  4' x 6' Triada Samaras 2016
                                                                         The hand re-appears.

The most recent version is above, although the image is cropped.  This painting is extremely hard to photograph as each separate light source changes the image immensely.  I think that is part of its beauty however.  In this digital age when a beautiful and seemingly perfect  image is available at the tip of any person's single fingertip, the oil on canvas art object gains status in its camera shyness.  It calls the viewer, perhaps, to want to view the image in a real and tangible world of body and object, breath and light.

At this moment the hand on the top right is still bothering me and I can not decide if it will remain there or not.  It was certainly a part of the original image.  But as I have already said so much has changed..........  T.S.