My inner critic was tearing his hair out while I was painting these, especially 170404a Lady at Piano. I invent the content as I go along, thinking “What the hell is this? Stop! Do something else!”, but for some reason the more embarrassing the painting gets, the more inclined I am to keep going with it. I decided to let this one come out without self-censoring – not deliberately “so-bad-it’s-good” (as I suspect Harry Hill and Stella Vine intend, with their sloppy celebrity paintings), but just uncritically allowing it to take form. I feel like I learn much more by painting this way than if I was trying to make something “good”.
The last thing added to 170404a Lady at Piano was the small trumpet thing in the top left corner. It pulls the picture together, I think, so that taught me something about composition.
The lack of colour felt really oppressive with these. (Stuart Davis said, “I don’t know why anyone would want to make dull pictures” – me neither, but it keeps happening to me anyway!) I don’t miss the hassle of mixing paint and cleaning brushes, nor the infuriating confusion of trying to overcome my colour blindness, but I do miss the “life” of colour compared to all the dead greys I’m working with. Tomorrow I’ll probably forget about it again. It comes and goes.
The painter I thought of most today was Cecilia Gimenez, the lady whose attempt at restoring a fresco made the world’s press in 2012. It’s such a wonderful failure.