The back of my brain is really working overtime on some kind of art thing, and I wish it’d cue the rest of me in, because it’s starting to get a little tiring.

For the past coupla days, I’ve been sort’ve slapping paint around on a canvas, fooling with color and textures, and generally producing an abstract of the bland, non-offensive sort usually found in corporate offices and motel bedrooms.

Then I stare at it for awhile and put it away.

Are they done? I doubt it. They’re nothing I’d proclaim proudly as my work. I am not a huge fan of abstract art in general–there’s a cheerful abstract print on one of my walls, but it’s the only one in the house, and I do not delude myself that these are Deeply Meaningful. They look like backgrounds. To something. One of them wants rusted wire in it, I can tell, although why something in a cheerfully garish pink-and-black-and-gray 80’s color scheme wants rusted wire painted over it, I don’t know. It just does. Something should be sitting on the rusted wire, but I don’t know what. It might be a bird. Or a frog. I don’t think I’ll know until the wire’s in.

Without much idea what I was doing, I drove to the art supply store and got some soft gel medium suitable for affixing crap to canvas and producing collage, and then I went to Goodwill and picked up some random fabrics. Then I came home, tore the house apart looking for some batik squares I bought a year ago on E-bay, found ’em, and sat and stared at them for awhile. I have a feeling they will wind up adhered to a chunk of canvas. I put them away. I primed a fairly large chunk of canvas. I stared at it. I put it away.

And I still don’t know why.

This is not how I go about art. I am, for the most part, a painter of concrete things. They may be non-existant things, but they are definitely concrete–if I set out to paint a werechicken, I have a vague notion of what the werechicken looks like, I sketch it out, and in the end, I have a fairly realistic werechicken. Even doing a paint-and-find-out thing like the Twigjack, I started with reasonable colors. Raw umber. Payne’s gray. Titanium white. Cadmium red and hot pink are not reasonable. You cannot do reasonable things with them.

Some part of my brain that’s been looking at Mutley’s work for too long is suggesting that it’d be really funny to do an abstract and then pick the outline of a chameleon out of it. I may listen to it. I dunno. Or frogs. Or tiny cartoon chickens. (Why tiny cartoon chickens? I don’t know.)

To a certain extent, I dislike this sort of subconscious process, or at least, I dislike being able to feel it going on in the back of my head. While I’m perfectly able to understand that it’s essential, and even to have faith that my brain probably knows what it’s doing (and if it doesn’t, eh, no harm done) this particular jaunt is bugging me. It’s so…fine arty. It smacks of that sort of romantic mysticism of art, where lean, starry-eyed starving artists fling themselves at the feet of the Muse, paint-stained hands clasped to fluttering bosom and all that crap. I am not an art mystic. I cannot hear art mysticism without wanting to squash it. I am largely of the shut-up-and-paint school.

So having my brain go at this backwards as it seems to be doing is rather unsettling. I’m willing to be unsettled–my brain’s let me down a few times, but it’s also carried through with shining colors a few times, so I’m more than willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

I just hope it figures out what it wants to do soon, or gives up, or does SOMETHING. ‘Cos this is just weird. Damnit.

Leave a Reply