Assembly line, division of labour, mass production. Not terms one wants associated with their original artwork which intends to stand alone as unique. As a painter who paints most days I have developed a vocabulary of techniques that steer away from what I think of as clever or trendy. I keep things simple. I paint faces from photos on a monitor in front of me. I don’t have rituals. I become irritated when I start to notice anything vaguely ritualistic creeping into my set up, but it is more efficient to keep things where I expect them to be because a lot of things happen quickly. When I reach for the hair dryer, I want it to be where it’s supposed to be. Same with paper towel and the spray bottle. I stand while I paint because I use my entire body. I don’t want movement to be restricted. I paint in silence. No music, podcasts etc. Some of this is behavior comes from a longstanding reverence I have for painting. The other night I watched a video of a woman who was going to demonstrate ink drawing. Maybe I’m a snob, but when she plunked down in her chair and mentioned she was watching her favourite TV show (a murder mystery), I cringed. Then she proceeded to struggle to get the tops off each bottle of ink saying something like, “just goes to show you how long it’s been since I…” Um, that was enough.
When I say multiples, I mean simultaneous multiples. Not consecutive paintings of the same subject. In graphic design, I’d call it four up or however many up. I’ve noticed the inspiration to paint multiple panels strikes more with animals and landscapes as opposed to faces which are immersive studies of emotion.
Doing five paintings at once means I can keep areas fresh. I move quickly and this can lead to over-painting and painting over things that are good. If, while painting, I recognize a quality that I want to keep, I can move to another panel and continue to paint, while still referring to the subject. If i was working on only one panel, I might want to change that area. I’m not sure what this is called, but along with knowing when to stop, knowing not to mess with good stuff, is very important.
Also, I may put down one colour on all the panels, then proceed to paint one of them entirely before moving on to another one or two — it happens in a variety of ways and it has more to do with how these options free things up and add pressure. Everyone needs to invent such things for themselves, depending on how they are wired. Of course there are people who paint by putting down various areas of paint one after another without changing anything as they go and I have no idea why they bother or what that’s all about. Paint by numbers approach.
I was lying in bed this morning thinking that painting multiples this way is like writing songs. I don’t just do a verse and a chorus and call it finished. Well, actually, I’m sure I have and basically, I try not to make distinctions between song parts including verse and chorus (I resist knowing what a bridge is), but if I was more committed to conventional songwriting I’d be looking at it this way (with a bridge? … a hook? no idea what that is either… stifling artifice, if you ask me).
a bit of verse
I’m starting to see each of these changes as a switch between paintings. If I paint something with a hook, I might be better to leave it and move to another panel, rather than run the risk of losing the hook they way it stands. I don’t mean in terms of length of time, but for the sake of this analogy, it’s a way to hone and allow areas to exist while I go to another panel on which I might come up with something that fits with the previous panel or to continue working with that thought without jeopardizing what I’ve just done. So, doing multiples is more like doing one big painting of a repeating subject.
Or maybe each painting is like a chapter in a novel I’m writing, where different details about the same characters and settings are brought forward.
Check the links under the paintings for multiples.
“Same Time Same Place #5″ (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel). $100 USD plus shipping.
“Reflection #4″ (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel). $100 USD plus shipping.
“Baboon #7″ (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel). $100 USD plus shipping.