To continue the theme of failure, here are three studies that I felt didn't work well enough to become paintings, though each in a different way. While working on the untitled sketch, I realized half-way through that it was bad: too many elements, with too many colors, an incoherent composition, and dull contrasts. I finished it, but didn't even save the photographic studies––hence the untitled––because I knew right away that it was a reject.
I had a long narrow panel in the studio, 20 x 44 inches, that I ordered for another study that I found I didn't like several months after doing it. Two Circles was done for that panel. I was very excited when I first saw the motif: a new machine on a large dairy farm nearby. The strong red and black looked terrific. But later I felt that it was a more complicated design than I wanted. As in the case of Cord and White Circles in a previous post, though the image was quite interesting, it wasn't where I was heading with my work. The study I came up with for that panel is called Archimedes, and is shown in the post "The Long Rectangle: Painting Studies". It seems clear enough in its repeated rhythms to get at the real.
White Towers has yet another story. I felt from the beginning that this image was a bit too metaphoric or misleading, too much leaning towards an architectural interpretation, as though we were looking at houses on a Grecian island instead of plastic. This bothered me, but I went ahead and started the painting, and here I'm going to admit to crass commercial motivations: paintings of mine that are white, yellow or blue tend to sell. Extremely annoying but true. But then my connection with my NY gallery was severed; I didn't need to please them, and I felt free. My first act of liberation was to wipe off the White Towers panels, going back to the blank white of the gesso ground.