In the last six days I have read more of Elkins's, What Painting is and really feel that something has connected. Working on a self portrait, my mind has constantly ranged over the things that he has proposed. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Go forth and buy it, all of you.
If paintings could count they would just say the number one over and over again: each would insist upon it's own uniqueness. These three paintings, following on from the previous drawings, looking out of the window, are still that fleeting glimpse of the imagined work, which on quickly turning to catch sight of it, disappears.
This post is to recommend What Painting Is, by James Elkins, published by Routledge. There is a sense he says, that counting happens in painting, in the sense of the way marks exist together making sets and groups. There is no way to tell in advance how they might relate together and each mark is unique. I know that once that mark has been painted over, it is gone and cannot be retrieved. However each set or group consists of two separate elements existing together yet making something new. 1+1= 1.
Can one trust ones teacher? The garden surrounds my workplace and invades my thinking to the extent that I must address it and make use of it. In this case I decided to look at a part of the garden and think of what I could learn from it - what it might teach me- and move me forward. I have a history of painting and like all history it is subject to review and re-writing. For me this means repainting. I ask myself if this means I have learnt something along the way. In a painting show my work was once described as being about lives lived, about caring very much for lives lived: but it wasn't my life that was being lived. So I am returning to the garden where I do live and trying to be receptive to what I think I see there. It is not going to change the world but it might change me.