Wednesday, March 28, 2012


This is about all I can show you of the five pictures in production, or of the roughly 16 thumbnails on the storyboard. Soon I can at least post a teaser picture and tell you what it is I’m up to exactly, but first I’ll have to finish that picture. And I know you’re eager (so am I!) but you can’t rush a picture. It shows, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s not fair to the picture.

There's a very important phase of painting called sit back and take a look. It's a phase I'm in the middle of with three of these, and a phase I really struggle with. To start a picture, I find, doesn’t take much discipline. I tend to jump right in. (Which sometimes works, sometimes doesn't.) But removing yourself from the process of creating in order to regard your painting critically, in order to see where it’s going, to decide whether it’s working, whether it’s going to work. That takes a lot of guts. And far more discipline, because my first inclination is to shove forward when I encounter a problem. And that also can mean starting over, or running a good painting into the ground. Over-painting something. I struggle a lot with allowing myself to sit back and take a look. I tend to get nervous about the time ticking away.


It’s one of the reasons I was so excited to find this book at the library not long ago: Picasso Paints a Portrait. It’s a photo-essay published in 1996 from a collection of photographs taken in 1957. And it is exactly what I wanted it to be: it depicts, simply, Picasso painting a portrait.


Moment for moment.


Line by line.


I love the progress pictures of the face itself, absolutely. I love the glimpse inside his studio.


What I love best about it, though, is the acknowledgement of this all-important step. The stopping and looking and considering where to go next.


It helps me so much that Picasso has a path he’s following, and that he gets a little lost sometimes.


And that he waits. He lets it happen.




For as long as it needs to.


I am immensely comforted by these pictures.