Burning the Bacon

Half term and the studio have kept me absent from the keyboard too long and it is proving difficult to order my thoughts into something worth writing.

Time necessarily divided between the paint-face and nagging teenagers to revise is completely different from that spent with hours ahead in which to mull, apply, remove and scratch,; but strangely, wonderfully so.

It has provided me with a new perspective, probably (and possibly – for environmental reasons which may become clear) fleeting.

Painting with imperative is good.

I like it, it produces a more visceral image and marks are necessarily kept when they might otherwise be reconsidered and even obliterated.

Painting with reflection is also good.

I also like it, it produces an altogether more measured image. Subject matter that, as ever with me, lacks subtlety is rendered more viewable. The anger often present can be supplanted, somehow, in the beauty of the paint.

Not to say that instinctive marks are not beautiful, I frequently excavate my surfaces to reveal their trace, but on their own are they enough?

I am minded, again, of Bacon and his endless search for truth with his marks. He describes his deep loathing of illustrative marks. Any painting he felt he had spent too long upon, so that his workings had strayed into decoration, he would put on the fire.

He describes the need to have work removed from his sight so that he may not touch them further and begin to ruin what he saw as all that was necessary. Like countless writers and composers before and since, paring down work to only the essential words and notes.

Should all mark making only be indicative therefore? Illustrative painting forgot?

At what point does a mark move from indicative to illustrative? If, by our reckoning, an indicative mark does not hit the ‘nail on the head’ does an overlaid, secondary mark, then become illustrative?

Is the luxury of consideration bad for our work? Should I buy an alarm clock and strictLy limit time spent at the face? Artificially imposing the time constraint that has created this dichotomy?

How many paintings did Bacon burn?

Yours, currently planning a bonfire,