While speaking with the Maestro earlier tonight on Skype we spent some of the time discussing some of the finer points I made during the presentation I gave of Netherland from a few weeks back, and it occurred to me that I had failed to write any of it down. It now occurs to me that I should.
For starters, I’m inclined to believe there are three kinds of paintings:
- The kind where I know what I want, I make a plan, then execute (rarely does this happen);
- The kind where I say, I’ve got two hours to do it, and at the end of the two hours it’s done;
- The kind where I have just a point of departure and the suspicion that those first steps will lead me on a great adventure—that was Netherland.
(There is also a fourth kind: the kind I don’t finish.)
Then, there is the looming question that inevitably follows any Odyssey of the Third Kind: if I knew that the final image was what I wanted from the start and painted it so directly—without the months of twists and turns—would it still resonate the way I feel the final image does?
On the one hand, I hope the answer is “no,” as I would like to think the blood, sweat and tears adds to the magic.
On the other hand, I hope the answer is “yes,” as I would like to complete magic paintings faster.
Ultimately, Netherland has taught me that I must better set the stage for what I love most about the act of painting: accuracy, economy and spontaneity—I must pursue further a process that isn’t just about getting it right (accuracy), and getting a lot from a little (economy), but making it so that little takes little to do (spontaneity).
These are good things to remember.