|Minute and Imperceptible Motion|
20 x 20"
This painting was heading down a path that was working: beige skin, warm cheeks, all very plausible and all very ordinary. I could see its finish while I was in the middle of it. And that was incredibly dispiriting. If I couldn't find any excitement in producing the painting, who would be excited by looking at it?
So I put it aside for a bit and did some thinking and looking through old photos. On a trip to the Met. Museum in NY, a few years ago, I saw this Kees Van Dongen painting:
When the painting was dry, I oiled it out and put a rich coat of pale green over all of the flesh tones in the light and into the background. Suddenly, I'd created a world that held some interest for me and I was off! After that huge transformation, the painting began to offer new ideas and possibilities, and I tried to pursue as many of them as I could. Green skin was my foreign object and it started up a whole new conversation between me and the canvas. When I decided it was time to stop, I didn't feel like I'd arrived at a place that I had seen coming from miles away; I was standing on new ground in a new world. And I'd had a great ride on the way, and that's the whole point.