It’s day 66 of my 100-Day-Project. I haven’t missed a day for a few weeks now and I think I’ve fallen into a kind of rhythm. I’ve heard artists talk about the benefits of building a visual language and other painterly habits. These habits make slipping into a studio process easier when you’re stumped for ideas. You just begin making the marks and hopefully by the time you get warmed up, the flow begins to happen.
I’ve experienced this. The steps seem to be:
- First, coffee.
- Rifle through my pile of torn, painted pieces. Choose a few I like.
- Start arranging said pieces around on the paper.
- Feel unhappy.
- Glue a couple down anyway.
- Add gestural drawing, buildup texture.
- Drip some ink in colors that seem right for my mood and the piece
- Take my straw and blow to spread and “spider” the ink.
- Feel unhappy again.
- Start splattering the page with acrylic ink and watercolor.
- Start painting over this background freely.
- At this point, I usually feel unhappy again as all the different elements begin to feel so disparate and unconnected it feels like the whole thing is teetering at the edge of disaster. I might need to edit some things to arrive at an equilibrium again.
- Keep working, add more torn pieces, draw abstract forms in ink, maybe splatter or drip more ink.
- And then I reach that magical moment when it all comes together.
- I might work past the moment in step 14 and ruin it and then I’ll have to repeat steps 12 and 13. Eventually, it feels right and I can say I’m done.
The more times I go through this, the more confident I feel in myself and my process.
When I started this project, I thought this process-oriented exploration would be a good metaphor for creation, destruction, and reconstruction. At first, I thought of these themes in general terms. Now, I think of them in terms of the reconstructed psyche. As we live our lives, we experience events that break apart notions we held at earlier stages, effectively deconstructing and reconstructing the personality in subtle ways.
That’s why I decided to call this series “Reconstructed Self.” And it’s why I’m comfortable with how complicated the compositions become…. because the Reconstructed Self is complicated.
I feel ready and prepared to spend every day making these attempts, perhaps long after the 100-day-mark, but I doubt I’ll ever arrive at the end.