Taking my own advice, I've 'just started' a couple of new pictures, having painted a couple of old ones over in black and in white.
I then attacked, with the intention that the results would tell me where to go next, and you can see the results below.
The black one, with the purple and green, looks like I just needed to put some extra paint somewhere, but at least I'll be able to see what placing those transparent colours mixed with some heavy gel on black looks like. The problem is it dries much darker and ends up not looking very purple or green at all. We'll see.
The white one, which isn't really white as a lot of the old disaster is showing through, is another story.
I've drawn a wiggly line design on it, which I will then colour in, just like a kid at school. Sometimes I think I'm back in school, but a quote I read in Art and Fear recently is good:
"When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college - that my job was to teach people to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, 'You mean they forget?'"
Not only do they forget, I'm afraid, but they are scared to learn again and just give it a go. Witness all the angst I'm having over every picture, and even the purple and green thing above. I can't just do it - I have to defend or disparage it myself before anyone else does. I envy those who can just do anything they like without worrying about it.
Honestly, when I look in my art anthologies and see some of the stuff some artists have done, well, you think, really, if he can get away with that... then you can get away with anything.
And yet he's in an art of the 20th century book, and I'm not.
In the end, and this has been my theory for a while, one of the most important things isn't what you do, but that you do it first. These days it seems quite difficult to actually do something first; there always seems to be someone who's done it before. Either that, or there are so many people currently doing so many weird and wonderful things it's difficult to believe that anything little old we could do could equal it.
This must be faulty thinking, of course, because civilisation and all of art isn't going to just stop tomorrow because all possible art has now been created. But the challenge can still seem overwhelming. Faulty thinking.
I guess this is all about me still looking for my 'thing' - the style or approach or gimmick that will set me apart and make my stuff unique. I still don't think I've found it yet.
But anyway, as I was reading recently, one of the most important things is to produce and continue to produce, which is what I'm endeavouring to do. Produce as much as is humanly possible, as long as I think there's some worth in it, that is, even if just for myself.
I'm starting up my self-portraits again after a long break - I wonder why that is; the break and the starting up again... Maybe something is calling me again. Maybe it's the grey hair that's done it. Someone remarked that I've aged a lot recently. Does wonders for your confidence and self-image, I can tell you!
So here is a new shot of me, and hopefully one of many to disgrace my pages over the next few months and years. I've wittered on about the ramifications of having a self-portrait project before so won't bore you here, but suffice it to say it's hopefully not vanity. I'm more interested in gruesome or at least brutally honest portraits of myself than flattering ones to be honest. And again, I'm the only willing subject I have with me, 24-7, ready to take part in my latest absurd narcissistic photographic enterprise.
I actually think it's fairly brave to face oneself getting older. Look our mortality in the eye and flip it the bird, as it were. A bit what poetry does too in the end.