Friday, July 20, 2007

No Fear

The title of this post is, ironically, No Fear.

Me? I'm scared to death. Therein, I think, lies the irony.

Not scared about the usual stuff, mind you. Not like, say, being a Jets fan and seeing what New England did in the off-season (although this also terrifies me, but that's not the point).

No. I'm scared about how far I next go with Big Rupert. I'm reminded of that saying: Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all. Who said that? Kierkegaard? Anyway, it sounds true enough, although it must be somewhat dependent on who you loved. And how you lost. Likewise, the golf saying: never up, never in. The implied message being that if you don't strike the putt hard enough, it has no chance of going in, no matter how good your aim.

None of this actually counts in painting.

I mean, maybe some of it does. You, dear reader, have to listen to me whine about buying No Fear decals for my Volkswagon, or how Picasso approached the last day of a painting just as he approached the first day--like a lion. And I guess that has something to do with the above thoughts.

I think I'm scared about two things:

First, and which was the originally intended subject of the post, I'm scared about not knowing when enough is enough. If you scrounge around during my Leesburg posts you'll find a set of three images--the portrait of Robert E. Lee when I first took the tape and masking off; the same portrait after I'd fixed somethings and should have left well enough alone; and the final image, after I didn't leave well enough alone. Trust me, #2 was vastly better than #3.

But you can't go back. My style, in particular, particularly when utilizing the obscured box technique, doesn't allow for going back and fixing things. At least not felicitously. If that's even a word.

(Quick aside: I can't believe she chose Ben over Noel)

So off we go. Forward. Stiff upper lip. Half a league. I mean, its not like I'm not going forward. Actually that's exactly what it's like. Actually that's not accurate either. It is fair to say that the last week has been a drain. I mean, you get emotionally vested. So yesterday and today have been what I call off days. Somebody suggested the term: marinating. Because I'm slow, I'm not sure if it's me that marinating, or the painting. Either way, one thing is sure. Nothing is getting done.

That's not true either. Both yesterday and today I've taken time to sit in front of Big Rupert and stare at it. I like to alternate periods of intense concentration with periods of intense self-loathing.

Hey, it works for me. For yesterday and today. But not for tomorrow. Tomorrow, we advance. Tomorrow we are putting paint to canvas. Tomorrow we are solving some of the structural problems of Rupert's neck. Likewise we are whiting out that weird little blue triangle. Likewise we are adding a second coat of gesso to the background so people will have someplace nice to annotate. And likewise some other stuff, which I'd happily get into but for the fact that I just hit upon the second source of my fear.

What if people write stupid stuff on the painting? I mean, it's a nice painting. You should see it. If you saw it in person, in sunlight, you would realize that abstraction is dead. Really, it's that lovely. So what if somebody who isn't me is responsible for ruining my painting?

Is that better, or worse.

Half a league.

Note to self: Stop whining.


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