Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Fall Fell Hard
Dissolving a painting is an interesting exercise and a physical challenge involving lots of alcohol applications, lots of scrubbing with an abrasive brush or steel mesh pad, lot's of scraping with a palette knife, lots of trips outside to power wash off the debris, then drying it off and starting all over again. The blue colors lift easily. The red colors do not. The thicker the paint, the harder it is to lift. The longer the paint has been on the surface the harder it is to lift. The more water in the paint the easier it is to lift. All colors leave a slight stain. Brush strokes do come off as brush strokes. Fascinating. As I labored, I wondered what process conservators used to lift junk off of jewels? However, there was no priceless artwork beneath this amateur's work.
At lunch I told Honey what I had been doing all morning. Of course, he wanted to know why I went through all this trouble and didn't just buy a new canvas for twenty bucks? He also said I should have kept the painting and sold it for the price of the new canvas. He can be such a smartass. I hated that painting. The exercise exorcised my dislike and my disappointment and my annoyance for having stayed with it for so long. The cleaner the canvas got, the better I felt. Beside, who would want a bad piece of work with their signature on it leaving the studio under some lady's arm that you didn't want to sign and didn't want anyone to see?
I still have some stubborn paint spots to work on this morning, but the grain of the fabric is free and intact though stained. If I want to get closer to a more pristine condition, I might treat those stains as I would stains on my clothes before thoroughly washing the fabric with laundry detergent with bleach. What the hell? I've always enjoyed experimenting with how far you can and cannot go with materials. The failures and successes illuminate the possibilities.
Should I have kept the painting and just made another Fall? Was Fall a total loss of time, effort and paint? No. Making the transition from sculptor/builder to painter, I had to figure a lot of paint would be lost down the drain. I learned what I was wrong about the painting for the quadtyck I have in mind. I learned about making corrections in acrylics. I learned that I really should get an SAD light come fall, because I really do not like the season that precedes winter's darkness. And besides, it wasn't a total loss: I still do have the painting in my portfolio minus the lousy brushwork. I've photographed it in process so many times, I'm sure I could publish a number of prints if so moved. One of them would probably be at the point I should have stopped and declared the thing done. And so it goes...