As I worked on the painting this week, I knew I would eventually get to “the point of no return.” I created the artwork, as I had sensed it in my mind’s eye, introducing the black and white elements that I mentioned previously in my earlier blog post.
The work was cohesive in my eyes. I had reached this point of completion. It was time to start sanding off and smoothing out the surface. I don’t really have to do this. I could use more fluid paints and other approaches. But, I like opening to the unexpected and the unknown textures and effects that will remain once the surface is sanded and prepped for a varnish coating.
Here are some of the juxtapositions of perfect and imperfect finishes.
In essence, a “perfect” arrangement of color and form interweave as I work with a new element of imperfection. I am drawn to both forms of designing – the perfect beauty of geometries alone, especially fluid organic forms, and also these alterations and effects on the surface of the work.
Creative traditions like that of the Navajos and their use of a “spirit pathway” string in their weaving and the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi both share this sensitivity towards seeing beauty -the soul’s passage way- in imperfection. In the case of the Navajos, it’s a means for the soul of the weaver to move out of the weaving through this imperfection of a “string” – it’s a purposeful imperfection.
I have mixed emotions about pursuing this process once I’m faced with the prospect of sanding off what in essence is a “perfect” painting. Still, I am most often left marveling at the synchronicity of the whole process. It’s in essence like the lifelong journey of yearning for a form of perfection only to realize and appreciate how it’s the imperfections that can reveal their own unexpected beauty.
Thomas Moore in his book “Original Self” addresses the nature of imperfections and how these hold the potential for transformation and are closely linked to our creativity.
“Not wallowing in our limitations but creatively dealing with them as resources for a vital life – the prima materia of the alchemists – we arrive not at shallow self-acceptance but at a profound love of the soul, which, with its rich mixture of the good and the bad, is the starting point of a creative life.”
I suspect this is what I find so appealing in these stressed areas of the artwork’s surface with all its variations as a result of the sanding. My final step was the selection and highlighting of the areas that I was drawn to introduce into the “perfect” overall geometric composition.
I’ll write with more news on my ongoing painting in the next posts.