Is serendipity the friend of the painter? Certainly, at times, it feels that way…
I’ve been struggling with a painting (below). It has sections I’m pleased with, and that always provokes tension, as how far do you go to keep the ‘good’ bits when the painting in totality feels rather flat and lifeless?
I had felt close to emulsioning over the lot and starting again. I realised that before taking drastic action what I needed was to pause, and find head-space enough to think through my next steps.
That thinking space was found at the weekend chugging along the Grand Union Canal on Our Eileen and happily since then, a couple of serendipitous things have conspired to point me in a direction that I think will be interesting and helpful…
First came the following lines in Alice Oswald’s poem Leaf, from her collection Woods etc.
a small hand unfolding, feeling about.
into that hand the entire
object of the self being coldly placed,
the provisional, the inexplicable I
in mid-air, meeting the wind and dancing
I also looked again at three small neglected paintings on the shelf. They’re of my children’s hands and feet printed many years ago:
As the Five Peas series of paintings is about family and identity the use of handprints & footprints fits well. Could they be just the organic element the painting needs to bring it to life?
Inspiration also came in the form of works from Susan Hiller’s Hand Painting series from 1969:
And Stone Age hand prints…
So, I looks like I have a rich and exciting way forward without lifting a brush!