Friday, August 6, 2010

painting staycation: why does it have to be about paint?

Trying to remember who I am. Spend the week painting outdoors. Outdoors is like life drawing practice. Is like master class. That sun will not stay in the same place. Why can't I spend my vaca on the beach somewhere like other people. What is this? Just a waste of time? Life is getting so busy and painting takes up a lot of time.

Did not, almost did not start. But said, what the heck. It will be bad but just do it. It was lousy but done. Very weird view. My subconscious right there staring back at me. Embarassing if people knew.

Yesterday freezing my butt off on Monterey Avenue. Had to work at the easel as I could not get the car into the right location. Stuck it out for 4 hours. I was shaking and trembling when I ran into Safeway to pee and get a sandwich. Then drove to Dogpatch and started another one.

Today I went to San Mateo where it was warmer but a difficult view of a river in an office park. Lots of geeks walking around. Who would ever want a painting like this? Am I mad? However it needed to get done and it did. Started in the car but could not see and got out and set up the easel. Must had painted the river about 30 times and it still is not right. Kept blowing over. I want to disown it.

Did some more Dogpatch -- gosh Dogpatch is now all yuppie assholes with dogs -- and then a quick one on Potrero Hill...a sketch in 45 minute which is better than anything I've done all week. This is creating a crisis in my mind...why freeze my butt off and try so hard for hours and hours when a sketch is better? So much pressure, so little time.

Maybe I should just do sketches. But then how does it fit in with a body of work? Well I never cared about a body of work before. It's not like I have a gallery calling the shots.

Why waste my time with any of this stuff when I could be snorkeling or overeating or something more fun? But painting does give me a stillness. I sit there with my feelings about the view which usually mirrors whatever is going on inside. Then I run out of sun and see that the painting doesn't work. Why does it have to be so hard? Is it that it is so hard, that is why I want to do it? I do work hard at everything....

Was looking at some art on on the internet from a guy who paints with a projector. So easy. You don't have to draw, you just trace. It gives the work a lot of style. There is no sitting in the fog or wind involved. He doesn't try to draw straight lines, he lets them go where they want. It has a relaxed style. Who cares how it is done? It's really about the act of painting. It doesn't matter what he is painting. It all looks great. My work looks ludicrous in comparison...looks like a tense 4th grader did it.

My accountant keeps touting another artist who takes a photo, makes a large printout and traces it and then paints it in the studio. Much more accurate and much more saleable. Beautiful, accurate work. But no high wire act there either.

Why do I have to do the high wire act?

But more important: my paintings are about the views that I find. People are always telling me to be more painterly, looser, more this or that. They want me to have more style. But my paintings are not about paint. They are about places and how I feel about them.

My heros are from the 17th and 18th century when they still had history paintings.

Since when does painting have to be about paint?