Where do I stand with my "grand project" ?


I terminated the first 4 columns with each 5 paintings (if one can say that a painting is ever terminated). Here is the full view. The paintings are stitched together in the Gimp (open source version of photoshop) and not taken in one shot because my present painting place is not big enough to position all the panels together while leaving me the distance to shoot the whole damn thing. This explains the 'dark-light' differences between panels. The whole thing has a better flow that on this picture but that was the price to pay to share this work with my readers. What I hope to share is the dynamic that runs between thinking, painting and writing (please click on images to get their large version).

As the picture, given here under, shows the work is already well engaged on the right side... I'm transitioning to a second chapter of the narrative. The transition starts in panel 4 and 5 of the 4th column on the right and will fully occupy columns 5 and 6. Starting with column 7 I'll start to initiate the 2nd chapter which will take 5 or 6 or more columns depending on what I discover on my path. 

Here follow the pictures of each individual panel  composing the first 4 columns.

As you can see from the individual panels each stands on its own as an individual painting. It takes an awful lot of time to balance forms, lines, and colors because all these elements have to be applied in 2 different "contexts":
  • one is the inserting of each panel in the whole "mural" to try to get some coherence out of the chaos of the initial automatic painting
  • then each panel itself is treated as an individual painting with its own color balancing necessities.
I paint without plan in the tradition of automatism and I have thus no clue about what is coming my way. In other words I'm discovering the unfolding of the narrative while trying to make sense out of the paint material, the forms, and the lines that end up on the canvas as by accident and it's as if my subconscious mind was constantly searching for order out of the chaos created by automatism and directing my hand as if it was a child's hand. This trial and error process is time consuming but my mind feels that achieving order, or harmony, in the lines, forms and color combinations is somehow necessary... if for nothing else than as a token of respect for the viewer. Achieving order and harmony is what imposes on me the 2 different contexts I spoke about here above.

These 2 contexts create like a process of "going to the whole" and then "coming back to the individual" and this process has to be repeated a number of times... till you feel satisfied with the whole. But I doubt I'll ever really be fully satisfied because I regularly feel the urge to retouch some elements in order for them to fit in the growing whole. What I mean to say here is that adding new columns on the side can't be balanced simply by painting the new works while keeping in mind what is already there. You indeed always feel the need to balance the whole and that's what brings me back retouching the paintings I thought I finished earlier... That's what is adding up the hours! By a rough count I spent on average approximately 100 hours on each panel of  these 4 first columns which, as of today, makes some 2000 hours for the whole mural of 4 columns but this total, as just tried to show, is destined to grow further... 

The whole process is akin to meditation and it is where many of the subjects of my writing come from. So in this sense, in my personal experience painting, thinking, and writing form one way of living ...that can't easily be reconciled with today's artworld and its market flashes.

If you want to read about this project since its inception in 2013-11-01 go to the grand project page

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