How My Paintings Become Sopwith Camels or the High-Flying Thrills of En Plein-Air.
I pilot a painting. Rev it up. Get it off the ground, something--not Inspiration in the traditional mystic, religious, fantastic or legendary sense, but something real in our environment or our humanity that I find inherently splendid to my eye giving it lift. Then I set it on autopilot for a while…in the direction I hope it will go. I do check the instruments—draftsmanship, painterliness, color (paying special attention to grays and values), communication and visual balance—rather diligently. If nothing bad happens, I relax and enjoy the flight.
There are dangers in the process. Those clichés of habit and art school and patron taste often disguise themselves as that cheap inspiration I mentioned in the first paragraph and try to take over the flight. My job is to prevent that from happening. And I must recognize when the painting has run into a problem that it cannot pilot through by itself. Then, my job is to interfere. A little. Prevent the mutiny. Then hope that my ability, such as it is, has not been insulted, will not sulk, does not sputter and quit the business. The sudden drop in artistic altitude can put my bowels, along with a clog of caustic, sometimes creative, epithets, in my throat. It is a ticklish situation. It gives a precarious thrill.
So, I get a rush. So what? What does anyone else get out...
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