• Chrissie Calvert


I was getting hung up on theory. I have a tendency to overthink, and that was inhibiting my creating. So for a little while I am switching from focusing on theory, to focusing on making and experimenting. Although, I have been thinking about emergence after reading an essay written by Jan Verowert in response to the paintings of Tomma Abts. Verowert talks about the crises of creating and the sense of emergency that is experienced when choosing the next action when painting.

Out of all contextual things I have read so far, this one seemed the most relatable to my current practice. What I mean by this is that intuition you get when painting, specifically about what needs to happen next, can feel all consuming, even stressful at times. It's like everything is hinged on each decision, and each stroke has a million places it would fit, but there is an urge to make that the action the best of those. That stress or excitement of choosing the next mark made, and then the aftermath once it's done, the dealing with the emotion behind a wrong step, or a great idea, is an intoxicating part of the creative experience. So keeping that in mind, in my own practice I want to keep a closer eye on why I make the decisions that I do while creating. Up to this point I have only dipped my toes in understanding my reasons for those in-the-moment decisions that make up the final artwork.

The surface that is painted on impacts the decisions made in the crises-emergence mindset. I find the choices I make while painting on more exciting surfaces, like my experimental PVA'd hessian, leave more room for happy accidents. Happy accidents invite more chaotic choices which can lead to a more dynamic work. I like the idea of letting the materials and my self fight each other for dominance on the outcome if images I paint. What I mean by this is that a thirsty, textured material, like hessian, makes it harder to control the outcome of a mark made. Hessian fights back and the materials low-grade inconstancies which appear in its weave can make for unpredictable amounts of paint being absorbed into its surface.

I had an idea. It emerged from the PVA'd hessian experiments. What If I PVA'd the hessian, then added a layer of newsprint and then painted on that? How would that affect my choices while painting? And then, after that, how would another layer of PVA'd hessian on top react to that? How would that affect my decisions' as the chaotic mess of art grows. It would probably hold its shape as well, becoming an object. But then, what if I pushed back again and forced that object to be a painting? Would it rebel? It could be an ugly disaster, but I want to find out.

So far I have PVA'd the newsprint onto the hessian.



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