The unimportant becoming the main thing

I have always had an A-line and a B-line in my art. The A-line is the serious work, carefully done, with a lot of thinking in between the sessions. Like for instance a landscape, where I may work on a row of trees maybe 10 times to make them more and more realistic. While at the same time trying to maintain the expressionist style.

If you would dig into one of those paintings like an archaeologist, you might discover five or six layers of paint in some places, correction upon correction. That’s’ the A-line.

And when the A-line starts getting tedious, when it is starting to feel like work, I often make some fast simple works on the side. These B-line works are much smaller and they are usually on paper. I don’t take them too seriously. And apart from painting, in the B-line I use a lot of cut-outs, that I glue on the paper with wood glue. It’s all very fast. Often these cut-outs are parts of other B-line works. It’s all done quickly and without much thought. Because It doesn’t really matter. Because, it’s just the B-line. And I often surprise myself that way. And if I don’t like the result, at least I have a source of cut-outs for the next B-line work. I have a whole folder of snippets and sheets to cut from. Also I really like how I can try out many compositions by simply moving the cut-out around.

It’s all done quickly and without much thought. It doesn’t’ matter, it’s just the B-line.

Now, finally, I am getting to what I wanted to tell you. Unexpectedly, my B-line has jumped into my A-line. The unimportant B-line became the main thing. Suddenly, after working on a landscape again, I found myself grabbing a 90 x 90 cm canvas (my big size). Like in a trance. Rather than brushes I took my small paint roller and painted a quick abstract composition with bright colors straight out of the tube. No mixing. I had an interesting painting in about half an hour.

It so happened that I had some sheets of canvas laying on the floor. I had painted on these, basically to empty brushes from an A-line work. And since I was B-lining anyway, I also threw on some cardboard stencils I had discarded from another project.

These sheets and stencils had dried and they were still lying on the floor in front of me. I picked them up and started to cut parts out of them with a pair of scissors. What I discovered was, that I could glue these pieces of canvas onto the main painting very smoothly. The material is thin and strong and glues much easier than the paper and cardboard that I normally use.

I succeeded in maintaining the B-line working mode, while working on a big painting. When I needed some specific colors for a next step on the big canvas, I simply took one of those small sheets of canvas and painted the right colors on that. When it was dry, I cut out the right shapes as the next cut-out. I loved it. And that is how the B-line jumped into my A-line…

I succeeded in maintaining the B-line working mode, while working on a big painting.

About the Author JAAPH

JAAPH is an expressionist painter living in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.