Starting a new painting is usually as exciting as it is daunting; unlimited possibilities countered by not much clue about what is to be done. Unlike making a journey, when I’m happier if I have made checks and planned a route, in painting I just set out and see what happens, with maybe a vague notion of a direction but not any particular desire for that to be the destination. I know more what I’m not looking for than what I am.
Starting a painting also exposes what it is you do when you are painting. Putting down a colour, responding to it with something else, forming somekind of painted structure, then disassembling it all by painting it out or scraping it off, having another stab at it. With this new painting it is even more so as it is on MDF, a surface I don’t use very often. It is hard and resistant, exposing and retaining all the marks, making it all very obvious, making me think, talking back a lot.
De Kooning’s beautiful comment about painting seems never more true: ‘What you do when you paint. You take a brush full of paint, get paint on the picture and you have faith’