Yesterday, painter Keita Morimoto tweeted the following,
""You need to embrace the artifice. Construct everything exactly the way you want it to appear and then hide your tricks."
To which I replied,
"Showing some of your tricks to the viewer lets them feel like they're part of the game, even though they're not."
Keita (besides being one of my favourite local figurative painters) is right, it is all about illusion, but I'm a fan of letting it slip, of that moment when we see behind the curtain – of The Great and Powerful Oz as a charmingly avuncular, but relatively powerless guy.
As Dave Hickey wrote, (and here I paraphrase) we all know that a painting is an illusion but want to believe in it, we want to believe in illusion because it allows us to believe that the world is not what it actually is.
But as I was educated in the world of Western academically oriented art, the honesty of the process was successfully infused/brainwashed into my psyche. Lord knows I won't be shifting to abstraction any time soon, but (for good or bad) I feel drawn to the importance of "truth in advertising ", of showing the limits of my ability, because if truth be told and humility be tucked away for a moment, my ability is pretty high.
With all of the above in mind, and with thanks to Keita for getting me thinking, here's the preliminary gridding step for my small portrait of CSM Rich Davey – one of my favourite soldiers.