I've been painting full time since the new year. It feels SO good to allow myself enough room for new work, particularly giving time for the setbacks and failures to prosper. For me, the downs of this baffling process are just as important as the ups. As Bobby Zimmerman sang "Ain't no success like failure, and failure is no success at all".
This body of work started with portraits of the co founders of the Grand Theatre of Lemmings, Dave Danzig and Mandy Medlicott. Working for them has been a revelation to me, to see creative work that lives only in the moment of a committed performance and then is gone. Such a liberation from the obsession with objects and their perceived value and importance. Along with the portraits I'm working on new Changeling paintings to be scenics for a short film. It all feels like the same show to me, building on "Such Stuff" last year. It's the slow and infuriating process of painting that is best at revealing the emotional motivators for this project. So far I'm working out the 'characters' by painting them :
I'm negotiating a proper theatrical venue in town to show the painting, film and performance together, which is where they belong. I've rather ruthlessly cleared the decks of most of the other freelance stuff, which helps me to feel less reactive, more at ease with the rhythms of oil paint. More looking, even more thinking and much less colouring in that you'd expect. A bit like a Miles solo, most of the time is spent pausing, breathing in, holding yourself still but ready. The more time my cat and I spend together in my studio the more like him I become. Long periods of inactivity, eyes half closed and then rare and wonderful bursts of activity.
The challenge for 2012 is to hold all this energy together - the painting, the film/sound, the performance - into a coherent event.
Is painting the best way to do this ? Emphatically yes, it's the heartbeat and the source of what I'm doing. The meditative pace of paint drying allows depth and ambiguity to develop in a complex project like this one will inevitable become. For a one man band like me, complex projects are always completed under pressure, so it's important to know how I feel about the things I always end up making too quickly.