Don't Scratch!

So a new painting, a new 'series' in the making. More than that a new departure this week: I left a painting unfinished and began another. Normally I like to stick at a painting - to prove I can see it through, to prove to myself I'm in this for the long run, but this time... nope, not so much. 

So what happened? Well, for a start the second idea had been bubbling under for a while - sneaking into thoughts I had about what I could do, cropping up in random and idle moments, jumping out from my sketch book each time I looked - basically it wouldn't go away. 

Okay, you say, but why not finish the other quicker - it would be more productive? Yeah... no. I mean, sure I would have finished it, but it really wasn't working. My initial idea had height, and pushed perspective to give drama to the colours, but this was cramped into a square canvas, and though I could've finished it, I would've been doomed to do it again... properly.

So instead, to avoid driving myself to the brink of insanity trying to make the unworkable work, I released the gremlin at the back of my mind, I looked around - no one was looking so I scratched the itch. Quickly the outline took place - the colours seemed to impose themselves without debate, and the magic realism of the piece solidified into reality - it was bliss.

Don't mistake me - there was still my normal reworking and neurosis about the lines, the intention and where it was going; but it instinctively worked itself out when I looked at the painting properly... it felt right. This is the enigma of art - any Art, that despite grand ideas and theories, nobel and ignoble intentions, ultimately there is a reliance of instinct, on gut feeling, and the confidence to act on it. 

So I gave up on the painting that wasn't working - at the moment I feel I should use the canvas for something else, and begin it again on another, taller canvas, and instead produced something else. I gave in to quitting, not out of failure, but because I felt it wasn't working, and I trusted myself. This, it seems is a bigger step than I first thought, a realisation that deep down I might be right.

Though of course whilst scratching is pleasurable - it's probably best not to scratch too much, it just makes it worse.