Painting: Study for No Night Too Long

"A study for a possible future larger piece, this acrylic on canvas work was done as a colour and stylistic test for a more elaborate work to be entitled 'No Night Too Long'. The scene depicted is a variation on the opening scenes of the classic Universal feature 'Frankenstein', showing the grieving mourners as they lay an unidentified body to rest."
Study for 'No Night Too Long'

I really can’t tell you if I love this tiny painting or if I hate it. I know I’ve felt both at different points, and other times felt both at the same time. It’s a study for a larger artwork I mapped out in my mind last summer, and I did the study as a gift for someone for Christmas. (The finished larger piece was originally conceived of as a gift for him as well, I just didn’t get there in time. If I do finish it, I’ll offer that to him as well if he would like it).

The study isn’t what I expected it to be. I thought I was developing an exciting new style and language and I ended back in places I’d gone before. Not sure if that’s some kind of failure or something, or even if it’s relevant, but I didn’t see it as such, then or now.

Just because you didn’t end up where you were headed, doesn’t mean you had didn’t have a good ride.

I know I loved it at the time I painted it. I couldn’t wait to start or to finish or to frame or to stare; I couldn’t get enough of it. I looked at it and looked at it (the way I had with Mike Ferris’ photo of The White Knight sculpture). It showed me a roadmap of potential and of greatness. It made me want to work day and night to (start and) finish the bigger work it was to become. I still see some of that work in my mind (though there are big areas of grey and I don’t know how they’d work), but I think maybe I peaked too soon. Or burned too brightly. Or stalled too long. I don’t know if the larger artwork will ever come, or if it would match what I meant it to be. Most likely it will be another on the long list of well-intentioned ideas that never quite found fruition. I think I hope I’ll finish it, but that’s easy to say flippantly. That’s just what you say. Truth is, I don’t know if it’s in me to do or not, or if I really want to anymore, or if it matters at all if I did.

Looking back, I think I do still like this particular study though when I look at it and don’t read into it what it isn’t. I don’t know for sure.

I’m probably not the one you should be asking for art criticism though about my own stuff anyway. By the time I finally grasp, finally understand my own work, I’ve long past moved on.

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