13th April 2012. Some things I noted in trying to think what it is I’m seeking in a painting…

I made several drawings at the beach yesterday morning. Clear air, a dark horizon, low tide, small waves coming in close together at an angle to the beach, making zig-zagging, lattice patterns; the line of the breaking waves at 45 degrees to the next approaching wave.

In the studio I blocked in greys and pale blues on a small canvas and added a pale sky. I then tried out various ways of making a dark sea; from chocolate browns to deep green greys, and of putting in marks of waves from the drawings. The painting developing through repeatedly putting on and scraping back paint. On a small canvas there is not room for a build-up of a network of marks; the painting is rather a patina, a scrapped and painted surface. The drawing gradually disappearing to be left only as a guide to the directions of various brushmarks. 

What is it I’m looking for in this process? I don’t think it is for something that just looks like what was out there this morning, (even the assumption that we know what something looks like is problematic). But rather something that feels real and true and has some revelatory relationship to the original drawings. Something that places the act of painting, of ordering a surface, into a dynamic relationship with the observed world.