One of the greatest and most valuable gifts of painting is the relative ease with which one can simply wipe the slate clean and start anew. Palette knife is the tool – I chop into the surface with rays of pure white gesso and efface all that was there before, smothering the old composition, which fades into a place of secondary importance, an array of thoughts now removed. With each bolt of new paint, the material matrix breathes again, and the islands of old charcoal and color shrink down until they are obscured by broad blinds of new paint.
The newly blank field is at once a chance to forget the old and begin with a fresh absence, a novel idea in a consciousness too often cluttered with useless nostalgia, hapless could-have-beens. When the blind patching is complete, there is a moment of satisfaction in nothingness, and an urge to stop just there, existing within the transitional space. This is the space of balance after withdrawal, and the measured breath just before the next effort. The ecstasy there is the elusive sense of endless opportunity within the walls of the canvas. It is often most difficult to begin again and fill the space with a new idea that will grow and learn and change, and perhaps become redundant.
I’m questioning every time if it is possible to prolong the sense of unknowing and suspended creative potential. Is it even plausible in panting, which produces an obligatory fixed image?
What a shock to make the first mark in that clearing and let the new imaginary shapes take life, physical form. And always, in my work, where the initial becomes an echo, the old redundancies may ascend again to inform the new.