As I was driving to work today, I started thinking about oil painting in this project. I was surprised by this thought, as I tend to think that I do most of my best work in printmaking and drawing. I have a complicated relationship with painting; I was convinced as an undergraduate student that painting was all I wanted to do. And yet I think the second I gave up my obligation towards painting, I felt like an enormous burden had been lifted. For this reason, I’m always suspicious of my own intentions when it comes to thinking about painting. I always question whether I’m choosing painting because that’s truly what my project needs, or if it’s because I feel an obligation towards it.
I guess the reason painting is on my mind is because it’s another way to create layers, a prominent idea in this current project, both conceptually and visually. I’ve always seen water as having infinite layers, which is what makes it so rich in terms of its visual potential. If I do end up doing paintings, it’s still a very long way off, as I think I have quite a bit more work to do in printmaking before I get there.
I printed this last plate the other night, and it’s become pretty clear that I’m not quite ready to consider this group of vertical monotypes as complete. So frequently, I tend to do my best work towards the end of a body of work, when I’ve had time for my approach and ideas to come to full fruition. The decision to stop a body of work is never simple, and I always end up asking myself whether I could have done more. For me, one of three things has to occur: 1) I lose interest in the work, 2 )The work becomes repetitive, or 3) I’ve produced such a large quantity of work that I think I’ve fulfilled all of the potential possibilities. I would hope that the third is the option is the one which happens first, although I will admit that it is not always the case. I suppose there’s always the option to return to the work if I really needed to, but that would be a rarity.