Close-up of Constant, oil on gessoed board
It was more of a conversation with one of the employees. While answering questions, Dine revealed that he never threw anything away - even his worst work - that it all became precious to him.
"Because what you have is a memory of working," he explained.
The piles of mistakes were achievements in themselves.
In individual paintings, this same concept applies. The brushstrokes need to pile on top of each other to earn energy and life. And they will not be forced into relationships.
Our job is letting it happen. When we force it or clutch at the result, that result slips from our grasp.
Color and paint have to move according their nature. Put the stroke of blue here with the large brush because there is a need for blue there. When the big brush leaves more than required, take the white again and cover some of the blue. Where they meet now is a mark made by us, but not really. We knew to put the brush there - the paints interacted on their own.
We stay flexible. We can't plan exactly how these paints mix on canvas - creating a new color from proximity and physically changing each other. The energy of their union powerful beyond their sum. We leave it though the mark isn’t straight. We leave it though there is still orange showing through. We leave it though we wish it was sloping a little more to the right. There are more brushstrokes to lay and if we obsess about this one, we won’t have time for all the others.
That is what all paintings are. When they are successful or failures. But the good ones are good "memories of working" that continue to teach when the painting is done. They remind us to let go and do our best.
That what we considered failure was a beautiful meeting of moments that end up perfect together when they were nothing but a mess alone. A reminder to keep putting one brushstroke next to another and see what happens. We can always wipe it out but normally it is better if we don’t - if we leave the imperfect marks there and build off of them.
The depths of our decisions weave into a patchwork of colors and shapes that complete an idea if only we let them be. Paint with courage, because the pigment can’t talk to us if we shy away.
It can’t teach us anything from the tube or the pallette. It needs to be next to its neighbor to tell us what to do next.