Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Hurry Up And Wait
I may have mentioned that I do not have an unlimited attention span. Actually, I think of myself as patience impaired. Whatever I want, I want NOW. I am all about the destination, not the journey. I was the kid in the back seat asking, "are we there yet?" as soon as the car left the driveway. I wonder why instant oatmeal has to take so damn long to cook, and how come text messages can't go faster. I blame this on being stuck in a womb for nine months earlier in life. Geez, it was boring.
When it comes to my painting, I'm in a hurry to see how it's going to look when it's done. Other painters might complain about not knowing when to stop working on a painting, I'm thinking, "what-- I have to do more?" I read a quote from a great painter that he wished he could take a couple of years to work on one painting. Are you freakin' kidding me? A couple of years? Delayed and gratification are mutually exclusive words as far as I'm concerned. But it does remind me of another quote: Genius is the ability to take infinite pains.
Now, rest assured, I am not now claiming, nor have I ever checked off the box that lists me as a genius. (As a matter of fact in a recent NBC News/Gallup Poll of the Mathematically Impaired, 71% said I think "genius" is the original Trivial Pursuit game, 44% said I wouldn't know genius if it came up and kicked me in the ass, and the remainingg 29.8% said they weren't sure, but think we should throw the bums out.) But I do wish I had a little bit of that trait. Not genius per se, but being able to slow down and take my time. Knowing my tendency to hurry it up, you would think my painting technique is a direct, wet into wet approach. It's not. Actually, my technique is rather labor-intensive. I make preliminary sketches and perspective studies. I use glazes, layer upon layer. I scrumble, noodle and scrape. But I do it as fast as I can. It generally takes me less than a week to go from idea to finished piece.
Now, I have often thought that I should take my time, and not be in such a rush. Maybe not take a couple of years, but however long it takes to exhaustively investigate every angle to ensure I have made the best painting possible. It's an attractive concept. And you know what? I can't wait to start doing it!