So far, I’m stumbling into a lot of unintended outcomes and unconscious processes. I’ve already written about “unintentional figuration“, and now I’m experiencing “subconscious referencing”. This is when I paint an image that I think is from my imagination, but later I remember source images that I must have been drawing from subconsciously. It happened recently with my painting of the lady with colour-wheels on her breasts, and now also with this painting (below).
I like this painting in lots of ways, but today I realised that it draws quite directly from a Guston painting, Talking, which I know well. I still like my painting, but these experiences have drawn my attention to an issue with working “from imagination”: it’s very easy for the imagination to lift from remembered images without consciously bringing them to mind. In future I’d like to find a way of working that comes more from my own experiences and ideas, rather than compositing imagery from my memories of other artists’ work.
On the other hand (pun intended), if there have to be images lurking in my subconscious then they may as well be great ones like this.