Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The ground beneath my feet
At some point when I was in my 20s, I realized that high heels were not for me. I had spent years hobbling around on my spikes like any aspiring fashionista in the early '80s, pretending my feet didn't hurt, and pretending I wasn't frustrated that I couldn't walk as fast as I wanted to.
But finally, I had had enough. I realized that, although high heels looked great, they just weren't me. It meant more to me to be able to stride in comfort. (Luckily, I soon discovered Dr. Martens, and my feet breathed a sigh of relief.) These days, when I see other women wearing beautiful high-heeled shoes, I still let out a sigh. But I know that style is not for me, and that I'd be miserable wearing them.
I've just decided that atmospheric painted surfaces are like high-heeled shoes for me -- they look great for other people, but they're just not me.
I've spent a lot of paint and canvas coming to this conclusion. I'm constantly poring over "how to paint" books showing lush, atmospheric surfaces that seem to go on for miles, because I love that look.
But I have to be honest. Whenever I start painting like that, I get frustrated. I have to get real: what I want is a painting with two flat tones, one dark and one light, feeding in and out of one another in a distinct, graphic style. Even middle tones frustrate me; I want dark and light to co-exist, without mediation.
So I think all my containers of gel medium and interference paints are going to go the way of my high heels. I love looking at them in other people's paintings, but they just don't work for me.
My painting "Web," shown at the top of this entry, is the way I like to work. An intricate pattern, but the result of two tones of lines weaving together, not an implication of deep space. I can get lost in this image, but I still feel I know where I am at all times.