At some point, the point I’ve reached as I write this, the solution to the problem I face in making this painting—and this always seems to be the solution when I’m in front of an ‘unfinished’ painting, the painting falling so far beneath my expectation that it seems to be falling under the weight of its own beginning—is to strongly consider putting on even more paint in the attempt to affect a change I hope to see in the surface of the painting.
Stuck in the painting then, neither moving forward or backward, knowing it’s not completed, that it needs something, I can’t avoid the temptation of putting on even more paint, and so I do: burnt sienna and raw sienna, gold, purple dioxide, fluorescent yellow, transparent yellow, primary yellow. But the paint as it appears in the tube is not the paint that appears on the canvas: yes, it effects the surface but not in the way I’d hoped it would be affected.
And so I don’t know what to do next, I really don’t; the paint as physical entity has completely taken over, paint having the kind of character that promises transformation but often doesn’t deliver or, in my case, over-delivers, becoming a kind of caricature of paint, leaving behind either too vivid or too pale accounts of itself.
At first I blame the paint, but of course it’s not the paint’s fault; and then, after looking and thinking about what I’m seeing on the surface of the painting, I see that to put on even more paint will not provide the answer I’m looking for. No, not at all, in fact I need to take away from the surface, the surface needs to be edited not by more but by less. And so I begin scraping, filing, take sandpaper and water to it, to make something new of what I’ve already made!