Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Repainting the Painting

I have worked for a total of about 10 hours on the new version of Oooo, the oil painting that I mentioned in my last post. As you recall, the first version, painted in 2007, had been sold by an art consultant along with several other of my works. When I brought the painting to the studio to frame it, I discovered that the surface was unstable and the painting could not be sold in its present condition because it would flake away to nothingness.

Notations on a printed image of the repainted painting

This repainting is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I thought it would be more fun to just paint and not have to make decisions about what came next. Instead, I have no emotional connection to where I place the next mark; I am just copying what existed previously, trying to get the colors and spacing right as if I wasn't even the person who made the painting in the first place. This is an eye-opening task.

My plan is to get the elements in the right place (did I have to make so many of those GD boxes?) and then try to infuse some emotion into the thing even if it's not exactly like the original. There has to be some connection between me and the painting or it will look like it came from some mall or maybe one of those factories where paintings are made on an assembly line.

I'll keep you posted.

8 comments:

Lynn said...

A fascinating post. It certainly shows how each painting has its own "soul". When I read about the dilemma in your last post, this potential difficulty didn't occur to me. It says a lot about the creative process.

There is such a difference between a painting made by an artist, and "mall art" which is completely lacking in any sort of emotional/artistic integrity.

I look forward to seeing what comes of this. Good luck with it, and thanks for sharing this insight.

CMC said...

I have done this...or kinda. I had a couple of paintings that needed to be in other sizes so I told them I would do something "similar' but that they could never be the same. Two of them actually turned out to be better paintings.. or maybe stronger depending on what you are looking for. Having to be 'exact' would not be good and I understand your non-connection.

Bryce said...

This is rag and bone shop work you are describing. In Drive by Dan Pink he talks about research that compared works done for commissions and those done without any constraints. The results are interesting but expected: Unless a commission offers the artist a stretch he/she would have wanted to take anyway, the results are usually deemed less creative. I think it speaks to a similar issue of connectedness and investment at a very personal level. Thanks for this, it provides some provocation.

Terry Jarrard-Dimond said...

Very interesting post. I can't imagine a more difficult task and the word task is very specific. I relate to your description of feeling disconnected. For me, when I finish something I am ready to move on and to have the task of going back in time to recapture the emotion in a work is extremely difficult even if you can find the composition. Best wishes and thank you for sharing this story.

Ellen Devens said...

I wonder if someone else should have executed the re-painting for you to simply maintain the integrity of your original intention and creativity. It would be way to hard for me to go back and not alter the communication of the painting thru color, line, composition or texture. Interestingly enough, I just made major changes to a canvas that I have been looking at for 6 months that was just not working, It was an editing process and happened in a moment and the result has a great sense of freedom and is very much in synch with where i am now in this moment.

Eileen P Goldenberg said...

I have had to repaint/copy my own work..it is interesting to do it again...it is never the same ,it doesn't feel the same...I spilled tea on a drawing yesterday that was going to my one woman show, so I redid it..it was easier as you said, in that I didn't have to make decisions, but when I had copied it, I did want to add more...

Tamar said...

Hmm. This is difficult, particularly because you have moved to a different place in your work. No quick or easy solution.

Perhaps another way to have started would be to first do a series of small sketches to get back into the mindset(to the extent it is possible) of that period in your work--to recapture the sensibility and process. Then work your way up to the painting you have to recreate.

A number of years ago I was commissioned to do two pieces in a style that I had left behind. It took me several attempts to get into the spirit of the earlier work, but the memory of the hand and mind did come back. But I think I would would have a very tough time if I had to do a tight recreation of a previous piece.

Keep us posted.

Lynette Haggard said...

Interesting situation. I remember seeing this piece and it is quite impactful and lush—strong color and gesture and texture. Good luck. I like Tamar's idea too!