Ephemerama #33

Over the last couple days I’ve finished painting the under layers for my latest painting, Pilot 6, and things are looking good. There is a bit of a wobble to the frame of the piece that couldn’t be helped because of the way I framed the piece but I think ultimately its a small issue. I promised in recent posts to take another look at why I do these elaborate under-paintings for most of my pieces now. I’ve been giving the issue some thought and feel that I’ve settled on a couple answers. The first answer is the truth and the second is a rationalization.

The truth I believe is that I create these under-paintings as a crutch, a type of security blanket to hide the fact that I really don’t know what I’m doing in most of my works. My style of abstraction really began as me fumbling around with shapes and patterns until something coalesced that I could build on. A good example of this is from my painting series The Vixen Virgin Mermaid of the Sargasso Sea. You can see a slide show of the process of painting this piece here. The first four steps in this process are where I’m just playing around, exploring. See here:

There are usually drawings that give me some direction, however the drawings don’t always translate to paint, and I can run into some trouble getting the one materials to behave like the other. This moment of the painting is terrifying to me and is usually where the painting fails if it does so at all. Not having the confidence to push through these initial gestures have in the past meant the difference between a series of 4 or a series of 8 or 10 pieces.

The rationalization that I give behind creating such rich under-paintings is that it provides a surface that successive layers of paint and collage must respond to. I do believe this is a valid rationalization but it also hides the fact that it is often coincidental and not my original intent. A good case in point can be found in another current painting series I’m working on, the Hotness in Concert. In both the first and third painting in that series the under-paintings became their own beasts that should have been paintings in their own right. Here’s where each work became something different than what was initially expected:

I came to a similar point in my current painting Pilot 6. For whatever reason after I create these largely randomized surfaces I can’t just let the painting exist on its own terms. I become so fixated on completing a vision that I can’t see anything short of that vision as valid. This compulsiveness can be really draining, taking energy out of a piece, something I’d like to address in future works where I stop myself a little sooner. Here’s where Pilot 6 was last week when there was a secret painting emerging:

And now here it is all covered up, ready for its final layers:

Over the next few weeks as I finish this piece I’m hoping that everything comes together and I stop regretting everything I covered underneath. In any case I’m just glad I’m over that hump where I’m afraid to move at all.

I’m not sure if I’ve blogged on this group before but about a month ago I came across this trap rap group called the Migos and fell in love. I stumbled on them while watching a Vice Youtube video on Hip hop music in Atlanta.  Here’s “Bad and Boujee”.

Okay that’s it for this post. This week is First Friday so that’ll be my next blog. Until then do be well.

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