On the day of return from cruising in southern climes I turned to the challenges presented by previous trips. The reference and ideas from more recent travels will bubble away in the holding tank. So I was back up at Yoho Park and thinking about the Northern Rockies. Iím going to give you an example:
I had an idea--probably not original--that I might paint a small mountain lake with its depth and glacial water. Iíd have it surrounded by snowy fingers and the boulder and talus patterns, enfolded in mountain fastness--mostly in the shade--with what was seen in the water reflection in bright sunlight. In a way the main action would be taking place outside the picture-plane, but be re-framed in the solemn edges of the ice-water lake. Essentially a skyless abstract pattern with truthful light and shade, a sense of place and what I like to call "aficionado vision." This might be a painting for one of those hikers of high places who knows these sorts of spots.
I rate my ideas as they come in. The majority are sub-standard but this one seemed above average. Fresh back and still rocking from the boat--my inclination was to go small or middle-sized with it. But itís important to grab the good and make for the most. "Go big," my cricket said--30"x 40" seemed appropriate. There are several reasons for this decision: A sense of pride that even though I have been temporarily rusting, my prop can still turn. A feeling that this particular idea was worth it. The need to swing out after the barons of beef in the cruise-ship dining room. The knowledge that the better ideas donít just float up every day--and when they do they deserve to be optimized. Big is more in more ways than one--besides, the Visa bill from the ongoing family-wide shipboard casino will soon be in.
"There is a right physical size for every idea." (Henry Moore)
Esoterica: The better ideas breed the next round of better ideas. This is one of the reasons itís good to jump on whims and push them through--if only to get on with the next. Every once in a while a gem is discovered that begs optimization. In many of our studios, this, and simply this, is the main process. Arnold H. Glasgow: "Ideas not coupled with action never become bigger than the brain cells they occupied."