During my last big sketch dump post, I mentioned briefly how some things had come together in my mind, and I feel like these are the start of that Important New Direction.
Except that it's not really a new direction: it's a bunch of old directions, combined. One of the best things about having studio mates is having someone to talk things through with, and one, I don't know, theme that came up repeatedly in discussions with Tracey Parker (website here) was the idea that just because a painting doesn't work, doesn't mean that the idea behind it is fundamentally wrong or bad in any way.
This line of thought lead me to reexamine the work I had done in previous semesters. What I realized was that while I felt that I was exploring different aspects of the same idea, that wasn't really clear, visually. So I knew that I needed to figure out a better way to present my ideas so that the paintings would be understandable without me being there to explain them, but at the same time I no longer felt the need to completely abandon previous lines of thought if the audience's (i.e. the professor's) reaction was less than warm.
So, let's step back in time, shall we?
The first time I was in advanced painting was also when I was in Florence doing study abroad. Concept didn't matter as much, or at all, and I was free to explore both materiality and objective abstraction (though I didn't know the term at the time, nor did I take it as far as I do now.)
The second time I was in advanced painting was...weird. Intense. So many descriptors. The execution of my paintings in this class was almost universally bad. Canvases were stretched poorly, gesso was spread unevenly, the colors were nonsensical and amateurish. That being said, these were also the paintings that forced me to transition from painting from a place of extreme emotional and intellectual reserve to doing paintings that I actually, y'know, gave a fuck or two about.
The third time I was in advanced painting, I spent most of my time doing small works on paper, none of which are online, even in my own personal photobucket files. This is absolutely fine, because they were....as explorations they were fine, but as finished works they fell short of their promise. But then I stepped it up, right at the end.
And then I was in advanced painting for the fourth and final time. I did.....a lot of paintings. Moved through a lot of ideas, almost too fast to keep track of. One of the best of them (although you can see most of the rest here) was this one:
And then, after all that, four years and change of professorial influence, I had to figure out what to do on my own. I set out on my roadtrip thinking that my landscapes would be a celebration of place, that I could make them as powerful and visually interesting as the image above. Some of them maybe almost got close, but not really. Although visually interesting, none of them really truly satisfied me. They weren't bad, mind. They just weren't excellent. At least, until this one:
I don't know exactly what it was about the woody gap painting that caused it, but afterwords, as I was driving away, all the little bits, the leftover puzzle pieces, just snapped into place. After a few months of not really enjoying the pieces I was producing, it's good to really really want to paint again.