Sunday, November 2, 2008

becca lynn: abstract painting journal

The basis for my painting was an abstraction of anxiety or nervousness. During the exercises, those five cute little hour ones we did, anxiety was the theme that I felt like I best captured, like I was able to place myself in the state of being nervous more so than the others. I had an idea of the scribble-y scratchy marks that I intended to use, but was intrigued/ uncertain about the notion of color. I was really hoping to just place myself in that state of mind and let the paint take me where it would. I didn't want to place too many restrictions on myself; I was curious to see where my instinctual reactions will lead, maybe somewhere I couldn't predict. I wanted the painting to seem instinctual, a continuation of the state of mind so to speak. The viewer will become lost in the large size of the twisting nervousness before them, maybe seeing a reflection of their own mind? Hopefully. “You are lost the instant you know what the result will be.” I felt good about starting my painting, I think because was nervous and tentative to start, and I think the way in which I applied the paint was nervous and tentative. I left it as soon as I started to feel confident about it- I didn’t want the confidence to come into too much. Yellow, yellow-green, and light purple. Quick, hurried, uncertain, strokes that I scribbled away with the end of a brush, pallete knife, fingernails, etc., soon after I applied it.
I got too angry at my painting at one point, when I was worried the painting wasn't anxious anymore, and I was worried that that anger came into it. My colors got darker, red-er, and my strokes got a little more violent. I think this grew out of my initial application of some darker colors. But I still kept with the same tight sparatic strokes, scraping away afterwards – as if I was "nervous" that I hadn’t made the correct strokes. I realized the little scratches didn't read from far away, so I hoped the painting as a whole would intrigue the viewer and pull them closer, so they could get lost in all the crazy scribbles. I "doodled" - still thinking about nervous patterns and habits of people. I also threw some coffee at it. I just felt compelled to, and I couldn’t go on until I had done that. Then I sort of connected nervous jitteriness (I was taking advantage of how the copious amounts of caffeine affected me physically) with caffeinated jitteriness. High anxiety can interfere with sleep, like coffee. I instinctually grabbed some charcoal and added stronger, longer vertical and horizontal strokes that made me think of pacing back and forth, wearing a path in the floor when nervous? Which in retrospect may have not been the best idea, as it muddies any colors I added. oops.
Color choice was a little too pleasing to look at. Anxiety shouldn't be too nice to see. But I still wanted to intrigue the viewer. And then, hoping that the smell of coffee would affect the viewer… I took the coffee grounds out of the pot and rubbed them into the canvas. Which served to dirty things up a bit Coffee ground smell didn’t really stay, which is okay. Now I know. I think the different sizes of the strokes add to the idea of re-doing and re-painting. Over and over because of nervousness, retracing, getting caught in ruts, patterns, scribbling, scratching, colors that don’t necessarily make sense. I was nervous to add anything more to it- which I think might be good. Maybe the point?


I think I was mostly happy with what people said in the crit. I liked how the energy and tightness of strokes was picked up, and the repetitions of strokes and such. I'm not sure how I feel about the graffiti association, or looking for shapes. I was kind of surprised at how not happy I was when people started pointing out shapes. I don't know if you guys were actually emotionally affected by the work or not, I hope so. This was a very experimental painting for me, kind of scary, and I did a few crazy little things just to see if the would work. I tried really hard to let myself go more where the paint took me, and I was excited when I heard that in the crit. But what made the happiest was to see people going up to it afterwards and standing very close, and watching their eyes trace all the little lines. I think in the future, for me, when I attempt an abstract painting, emotion is the most intriguing to me, and I think if next time, I can think less, and just try to stay in the mindset of the particular emotion, it will work better. Thanks everybody for your comments and for reading this ridiculously long post. oh lordy. sorry.


Chick Byrne said...

i think it is great that you recognized you're strengths while working with the small abstract paintings and then ran with what you felt was the best approach. It reminds me of of Jackson Pollock when you said you were unhappy to see people looking for shapes. you took a risk and did something that you hadn't done in such a large scale and it payed off for you and i think that was seen though the class's reactions to it.

becca lynn said...

oh thanks chick!