This is not really what you want to see when you peel a print back from the press…
Oops! Practically a blank page.
The plate had been inked and wiped, rolled with a second colour and fine paper cut and glued for chine collé… and yet for some reason the glue didn’t take and the paper didn’t stick. Not exactly the result I was hoping for!
And yet anything experimental has a degree of failure. If we know the end result before we begin then we are just going through the motions. I don’t wish to work to a tried and tested formula.
This is the hardest thing about art. For it to be exciting and rewarding, you always need to be pushing the boundaries of what you already know.
On Mondays I try and work through my domestic tick list. Pre-determined jobs with a defind outcome; change the dentist appointment, sort out an online bill payment, change the sheets. Tick, tick, tick. Easy.
But ask me to write a list of what I am going to tackle in the studio this week? I still find this very hard to do. I can promise to turn up, but I can’t promise what the result will be.
I give you:
“I am trying to work with the same plate to get different results each time. Some elements are the same, but other things shift. How much is pre-planned and how much is left to chance? Does the planning help the journey towards the end result or take away the joy of creating? Control and freedom and how do these things fit…?”
Not exactly precise is it?
Because there is no pre-determined, defined outcome.
I’m not sure if anyone gets to this stage with art. Maybe that’s what I’m searching for when I talk to other artists or read their biographies… Does anyone really know what they are doing? Or is it just me who has doubts?
Moving past the blank page I kept going.
Things stayed stuck – in a good way! Something about the structure was right. There is enough variation to be interesting.
My Dad will still look at them quizzically and try and find something nice to say but for me they feel ‘right’.
I’m not alone in this – last week I went to the Richard Diebenkorn exhibition at the Royal Academy – he was always searching for ‘rightness’. Not the easiest thing to determine, especially if we can’t really put our finger on what we are searching for.
So I’m celebrating blank pages. In fact I may even pin this up on my wall; a small reminder that the ones that go wrong often lead to the ones that go right. Even if we don’t quite know what direction we are going in.
Maybe especially then.