Do it again. And again.

Stand of trees collage

Making pictures isn’t always a one shot thing, not with me anyway. There are compositions that I do again and again, playing around with different elements, moving them around, adding one or two, taking away one or two, simplifying or adding complexity. I am never sure as to why or where I might end up. These four works are a case in point. The actual series involved some six or seven different versions, plus four or five tangential works. The four I’ve included here suggest that there was a logical progression. It wasn’t quite like that; there were some zigs-and-zags. But why keep making essentially the same work? I first heard the question with regard to Monet’s London paintings. He also did a whole bunch of lily pad paintings as well. My answer is that making stuff involves a lot of experimenting and playing around as well as some stiff criticism along the way. In the same way, de Kooning did a lot of frenetic pictures of women and Rothko did a lot of color field stuff. Doing the same composition in a variety of ways lets you do that. This creativity business isn’t some sort of hocus-pocus imagination business. It is doing stuff and seeing what works and what doesn’t. If something works for you, do it again only better, if you can. All the works shown here are approximately 18 x24 on 60 lbs. pastel paper with a laid texture and done in charcoal or charcoal and pastel.

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