Surface.  Sometimes the picture is about the paint itself and what it does, about layers of color that hide under others just barely visible, about color dragged over the pores of the canvas so that it hits the peaks and leaves another layer visible beneath it.  This aspect of painting is where the discovery lives for the artist, I think.  Paintings unfold in unexpected ways.  It’s true that you can plan a picture completely beforehand so that you know where all its objects will fall.  But an artist would need omniscience to know where his thoughts will take him first.  She would have to have a crystal ball to know beforehand how the thing will get woven together, brushstroke by brushstroke.

Is this just an insider’s game, or does a dance of surfaces delight the spectator as well?  Do tropical colors unfolding in layers make your heart beat faster?

[Top of the post:  a detail of a painting in progress by Aletha Kuschan]

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