Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Liberating Approach to Painting


I recently came across an interview of artist Larry Poons through the Unedit my heart blog.

I find Mr Poons' understanding of painting liberating.
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Paintings are mistakes. You put a mark on a canvas, and it’s a mistake. Of course it’s a mistake, otherwise it would be wonderful, because it would be finished. But it’s not. After maybe 50 or 60,000 mistakes, you give up. Like Leonardo said, “Works of art aren’t finished, they’re abandoned.” That’s absolutely true, art is never finished.
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When you’re painting, then you’ve got nothing to paint until there’s something there, that first mistake. But once you see something – you’ll see a flow or a shape – then that’s what you’re painting, and that’s where paintings come from.
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Of course the only tool a painter has – or ever had – to make paintings is color. It’s all color. There is no drawing in painting, just like C├ęzanne said. What you think is drawing is just two colors coming together, and if the colors aren’t harmonious (to use C├ęzanne’s word) then neither is the drawing, and it’s a bad painting.
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