Tuesday, April 22, 2008
My painting XXII
No sooner had I vowed to move forward, leaving unresolved areas to the end, than I was scuttling back to the middle South of the painting, to the chief disaster area where a calligraphic motif has been quietly strangling itself for weeks; an event that was robbing the work of much of its rhythm.
An interim operation brought immediate relief, though this kind of surgery is difficult since a new tracery has to be teased out of the old in negative fashion. Scraping back to the underpainting seems not to be allowed: I don't know where such constraints come from or why I declare myself not free to use any strategy I fancy. It is yet another aspect of the picture's tendency to dictate terms and my own tendency to accede to its wisdom. Perhaps the painting is protecting its own integrity of surface, an imperative in art from Cimabue to Jackson Pollock and beyond.
Also it needs to guard its nature as a composition, which is that of a continuum. Apart from the early radical gesture of replacing the North East corner panel, all procedures have been additive. The rightness of this current emendation was proved by how, once the incision was complete, the separated section floated free; like a released balloon.