January 19, 2016: is it complete?

2016-01-19 13.27.50

I had time for three hours in the studio, and these were intended for the first sonnets composition (1-9), continuing the work started yesterday: (finally) bringing this composition to its (hopefully) completed and unified version.

But I stopped earlier — about twenty minutes earlier, in fact. I couldn’t go on because the painting overwhelmed me when I stepped back to look at it and decide what’s yet to be done. The feeling emanating from it was so strong that I couldn’t really “judge” it, couldn’t even begin to decide whether I need to do anything else. And it’s not often that this sensation of a painting’s power is so strong; one has to cherish it — and trust it, to some extent. Maybe the painting is, indeed, finally complete — or maybe not. But in any event, by the end of this studio day, I was in no position to decide.

The changes I’ve made today have mainly to do with “propagation” of the blues throughout the painting, and with its overall tonal structure. Both are attempts to achieve a more unified impression.

One problem, of course, is that the very idea to have these multi-sonnets compositions emerged after these nine have been built into a collage. This idea came to me “out of the blue” and seemed to be purely “pragmatic” at the time — it was easier to hang them this way. It was the explicit “golden ratio”-based structure in the composition of each individual painting that created the first hint of unification, which I hadn’t quite foreseen. Later on, I began to think about this unity “in advance” — although I still work on individual paintings one by one, I try to keep the whole composition in mind.

Here, though, this compositional unity was just at the point of emergence. Now, it seems to be complete.

The sonnets came back to me as I was working all over the composition — each still has its own voice. But now, I believe, the unified “meaning” of this composition — including the repetitive “conflicts” between dark and light — seems to be there, and rhyming with the paradoxical meaning I read in the sonnets.

It crossed my mind today, during the walk, that I have to let go of the idea that time spent doing something matters at all. It seems that the same connection to nature I used to experience only when painting from life, I now achieve just by walking; and why not? It is certainly a more ecologically responsible way of life. But the time might come when I am ready for the next level of unity — and this might “require” more painting. For now, though, I am content with how the life happens to me — and if it means less studio time, so be it.