Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Unnatural Attachment to my Work

I have long been pondering the bizarre attachment that I have to my work. I have a really hard time letting go of new work, especially right after I finish it, I don't trade works easily, and I don't really even like to sell them, uness they are a few years old. I think it might be like going through all the hassles and pain of a pregnancy and delivery, only to give a baby up for adoption.... "Ok, well, that was an experience.... have a nice life....Bye!...."

Ideally, I would want to live with the work for year to learn from it, then exhibit it a great deal in the next 3 or 4 years of its life, then have it end up in a museum or the home of someone I really like so that I can go visit it from time to time.

I have heard other artists casually mention, "Oh, that painting's one of my best/one of my favorites, so I decided to keep it for myself", but my attachment borders on the pathological. I have thought for a long time that it is simply the amount of time that the work takes to make, and the fact that many of them are deeply personal, but I am wondering today if the process of making it plays a part: I go through so many steps and decision-making processes that, by the time I am finished, I know every inch of the canvas. The initial sketch is made, sometimes there are major revisons, then the lines are firmed up for the transfer, then I trace the lines on the reverse of the cartoon, then trace lines on the front again while making the transfer, then paint the surface with many layers of glazes. By the time the work is finished, I have touched the edges of each form 6-10 times. It is not unusual for me to dream about the painting while making it. I don't think that it would be very satisfying for me to make the work any other way.

...9 p.m. Weds. Woke up feeling sick this morning, not up to painting Angelina and the children like I had planned. So I did something that I could not screw up too badly... painted all the letters, then most of the area around the letters, in Wal M*rt. By 9 p.m., I could not unclamp my fingers from the tiny brush, so I figure it's time to stop. Will finish up the area around the letters tomorrow, and will hopefully feel up to tackling the tough stuff.


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