One of the galleries representing my work contacted me this weekend asking for some info about some paintings that had been sold there many years ago. In doing the research for the info, I had to scan through some old slides and early digital images of work from that time. The painting above just stopped me in my tracks, as it has several times in the past. All I could think is that I would love to see where this painting is now. It’s a very large piece and it would be interesting to see how it feels in its environment.
I had forgot that I had written about this painting five years ago and found that the post spoke about a question that oddly didn’t arise at Saturday’s Gallery Talk. I thought it would be interesting to share that earlier post:
I came across this painting from 2001 just this morning, one that had slipped off my radar some time ago. It wasn’t in the studio for long and sold very quickly so I didn’t get to ponder over it for an extended period. It is titled A New Mantra and is 31″ high by 51″ oil painting wide on mounted paper.
I do remember painting this piece and how it hit every goal I had for it from the first moment I started on it. It came so easily that it felt as though it truly fell out of me, with not a bit of struggle at any point. I also remember just being extremely pleased with how this showed in its final state. It was large and airy yet it had a real up close presence. To me, it was how it must feel to have the secrets of the universe whispered mysteriously in your ear.
It just felt powerful, whiich is probably why I was so surprised at seeing it again this morning. How had it slipped out of my mind when it immediately rekindled such strong feelings upon seeing it again?
I don’t know that there is any real explanation. I know there are other pieces out there that will do the same for me, including many paintings from the earlier years when my photo-documentation wasn’t as thorough.
I can think of one painting that I have often used in Gallery Talks as an example in an account of how some work flows easily while others are a struggle from the first brushstroke. This particular painting was done after a month of working on a series of paintings that resulted in a commissioned piece. After delivering that commission, I went into the studio one morning about 5 AM and a pretty large painting just fell out of me. I mean that in an almost literal sense.
It was about 40″ square and it was painted without any contemplation or hesitation and with incredible speed. I remember how the paintings of the past month had served as practices or rehearsals for that very moment in time. Every movement was really from muscle memory, moving without prompting. The conscious thought process was hushed and in the background.
Two hours later and it was practically done.
I tell people who asked how long it took to paint a piece that this painting didn’t take 2 hours to paint. It took over a month and those prior paintings were dress rehearsals of a sort. It couldn’t have happened without those other pieces building up to it.
To my dismay, that is a piece for which I can’t find an image. But I will keep looking and hopefully, if I find one, I will feel as I did about once again finding A New Mantra.