One: Clean

How we do one thing is how we do everything. Clean habits are essential. In my blog on wiring I suggested this mundane task requires just as much attention as the painting itself. The finishing edges, especially when there is no frame involved, demand much patience and focus as well.

clean, mess, semi-abstract

Clean backs required

With this in mind, another caution given to me during one of the courses I took suggested the back of the work has the potential to indicate to those handling the piece a measure of the integrity of the artist. In other words, the back must be clean. I have a bit of a problem with this. My process is messy and unpredictable. Taking care of the backside is not high on my list when I am in the midst of throwing paint, spraying and turning the work to create random spaces. It dribbles and drops as it chooses.

drops, blog, semi-abstract, mixed media, landscape
Turning while squirting.

Freedom is messy

Since I encourage freedom, often the rivulets exceed the boundaries of the canvas edges and proceed to explore the underside as well. Placing my hands quickly to turn the stretcher my concentration is on the direction and flow rather than the smudge I may be creating beneath my grip. This process takes on a more stringent precision when it comes to finishing the edges. My aim is to recreate the looseness – loose mess – I have on the front which means I have less control.

Fixing is precarious

As a result, I occasionally have paint where I do not want it. At this point I am tempted to fix it. What I have discovered, however, some things are left well enough alone. In my attempts to correct an unwanted smudge or two I have created a nightmare. The happenstance drip will not interfere with the legibility of the poetry nor the identification of the painting, all of which I write on the back in pencil. The pencil will not eat the canvas thankfully.

Clean is best

So clean is best. The best I can do will have to suffice. If I get complaints, I may take up gessoing the wrap around the stretcher on the underside. The unexpected drips will stay. All in a day’s work. Life is so good.

Something new!

Red Dot Blog asked me for an interview recently and this is what they published: here


2 Replies to “One: Clean”

  1. It sounds like we work a lot alike, Karen- lots of water, color and flinging. I agree with you- I can’t worry about the back of my work. I suppose if I had to I could always gesso or paint the back of the canvas but the shows I have been in only care about having the correct hanging devices, my name and title. Thanks for the info…….

    1. Delightful comment! Yes, indeed, the back is not a high priority with me. I do take care with the hanging devices like you and I put a lot of information on the back mostly for conservationists when I get rich and famous…

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