refining motion 11 / by Philip Tarlow

3:32 PM: i just wasn't satisfied with how this painting was evolving, so i turned it 90 degrees and created an entirely new image, which still contains elements of it's former self. it now seems to be singing, but i need to see it in the morning.

did i do away with some cool passages? yes. was that sacrifice for the sake of the overall composition and coherence? i think so. a quick glance at the previous incarnation, below in my 1:53pm post, tells the story i believe. there are some very strong, memorable passages, but for me it just doesn't hold up. the greens on the lower left and center dominate, rendering the more sensitive elements in the central and upper quadrants almost irrelevant. so couldn't i simply have painted over those green passages? sorry, it just doesn't work that way.

now, it's kind of like early guston waxing lyrical, with suggestive, biomorphic shapes: whales, open mouthed shouting humans commingling with rocks, water & branches. this seems to be the direction this motion series is heading, listening to the commands of some invisible painterly goddess. 

1:53 PM: here's the painting as it looked a few moments ago, after revising it over the past few hours. compared with how it looked this morning, it's less cluttered, but it still isn't singing. so i'm going to do more and see if i can let go of any attachment to the plein air gouache i've been working from. i've already placed 2 other plein air gouaches upright on my work table, and will borrow freely from them.

eliminating the branches in the upper right has definitely given the composition more breathing space, but it doesn't exactly know who it is yet.







BELOW: a few details

motion 11 as it looked this morning

a portion of yesterday's palette

12:08 PM: upon entering my studio i cast a glance, that all important glance, at motion 11. too much going on. needs simplification. that's my focus today, as i get a rather late start. my ipod shuffle has presented me with  joplin singing "what good can drinkin' do?" a masterpiece if i ever heard one!