Doodling small improvised paintings still feels like a great way to get comfortable with painting. Today I made four. In the past, my doodles were usually abstract. Lately, they’re all representational, almost illustrational, but I’d like to find more of a balance between the two. I’m still thinking about that Salle quote about the “simple representation principle” that makes it possible to “barrel through densely packed scenes efficiently”.
I wanted to doodle in paint again because I was thinking about how many years I’ve been doodling in pencil and, as a consequence, how completely comfortable and confident I am about sketching. By comparison, making large planned paintings feels incredibly tense and laborious. I’d like to loosen up as a painter, and doodling small paintings helps to get me into that habit.
I was also thinking about composition, and deliberately messing it up by pushing the stick man’s head into the top edge of the painting, or pushing the wooden zebra’s eyes out of the frame. I like the way that takes the eye to the edge of the picture, but then allows other parts of the picture to become a new focus.
“Bad” composition is something I’d like to explore more. Maybe I could combine that with the “bad” colour choices caused by my colour-blindness, and make something so-bad-it’s-good. That makes me think of “Bad Painting“, and also of a book about “Failure” in art, which I’ve been meaning to buy for ages because I like the idea of finding something to enjoy in failure (like the Jim Shaw Thrift Store Paintings).