I had a studio visit with Nayland Blake today. He pointed out something about my paintings which was important to consider, and perhaps something that I’ve unconsciously been avoiding. Which is, where do you go from here? How do I push it further? What’s next? This was something he talked about in his lecture by stating that once he found something that was successful in his own work he felt the need to eliminate it or push past it so that his work didn’t become formulaic, and could continue being exploratory. I think at first I felt this comment was somewhat premature, as the paintings I’m doing now are pretty new to me- I was thinking “how can I have already turned this into a formula?” I don’t feel like I’ve had that much time to absorb them. But they are kind of all arriving at the same moment. I give them this resolve that says “done”- and he seemed to be suggesting that I push them beyond that resolve, or stop before that resolve so that the viewer is seeing more of what’s going on – like what’s happening in the animation. He also mentioned just playing more, and comics. Both things I mention to myself a lot, but haven’t necessarily been bringing to the paintings.
The problem with these comments is that I agree with him, which makes it feel like I have a lot of work to do. Since the studio visit today I’ve been thinking about how to approach this. I went for a swim with some of the residents earlier and we got talking about how you approach the breaking of that potentially formulaic thing. Whether you break out of your mode entirely by doing something unrelated to your work, or if you continue on the work you’re doing but find ways of expanding and pushing it. I tend to think that the later option is the one worth pursuing, and think is what Nayland encouraging as well, but it seems like the more challenging option as well.
Steve Locke left today. Last night we had dinner in the dining hall at six, and didn’t end up leaving until midnight, as a group of us were chatting with Steve about a wide range of topics. It was really great to get to know Steve. It made me even more appreciative of the opportunity to stay and work here at the Vermont Studio Center for the next year.