Episode 18: No Product, No Problem

Jun 25, 2015


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In this episode, Stewart takes a humorous look at why painting for the process is important, even when you’re not sure what the point is.

An excerpt from No Product, No Problem . . .

It’s often hard to justify the time and effort we put into process painting. Here you are painting these paintings, which aren’t going to be used commercially — the point is not to sell them — they’re probably not going to show up in galleries, they’re not going to be making money. They’re not even going to make you a name; mostly, other people aren’t going to see them. And on top of that they’re not even necessarily very pretty — I mean, sometimes they may be, but often the conventional mind doesn’t find the painting attractive or pretty or even pleasing enough to hang on the wall. Even meaning isn’t something that can serve us. There’s often not even a story in the painting. Things appear and images show up and one thing leads to another, but it’s a pretty long stretch to try to string them together in a coherent storyline.

Sometimes we like to say: Well, it’s therapeutic, at least it’s therapeutic. But this too is a little bit of a stretch. There are times when you cannot find any kind of insight or problem that’s been solved, or an issue you’ve been working on that’s been defined by the painting. You’re having feelings — the feelings guide you in the painting — but often you can’t name them. You can’t even say that you’re dealing with this feeling or that feeling in particular. So it’s hard to explain to yourself, to justify this bizarre activity of process painting.

This is a very big confrontation that usually rears its head at some point after somebody has found a connection with process painting. They’re doing it, they’re practicing painting for the process, and it’s serving them in some fashion. Then all of a sudden this dragon raises its head, this beast of justification: What’s the point? There’s no product here!

Listen to learn more!


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