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  • John Reid

The Notion of Placement

When we think of the placement of a mark such as a brushstroke, it is natural to engage thoughts of where to place and how to place. That is how the adult learned response of being in control manifests.

A child’s sense of placement embraces, like the adult’s, yet dismisses to a much larger degree. Children will not tolerate effort. They will exit from an artwork when it ceases to interest them.

It would be easy to say that children have no sense of a result or end point and to some degree that is correct. However, a child will not tolerate something that continually fails to deliver…the crane that won’t fully extend.

In other words, they have a sense of something not working but no sense of completion and no notion of investing the time to make something work. That is learned behaviour. And yet they will spend hours engaged in a single activity or pursuit.

What I would like you to consider here is the energetics of creating a space or an environment which invites placement that flows naturally.

That requires abandoning control and allowing the drive to make a painted mark come from the interaction with the painting rather than a mentally driven attitude.

With the latter there are too many modifiers (emotions, environment, physical and mental ability) to this notion of a mentally driven response.

Whereas with the abandonment of control the placement of the mark is solely reliant on a volley between painting and painter. The resulting progression of responses that accompany this is in many ways dictated by the emerging artwork.

One cannot dismiss emotion in this process however. So often the artist’s reaction to what has already been laid down can seem destructive.

Those deviations may compound a problem or fuel a dynamic to resolve the placement at a different level.

This is the see-saw that exists between weight (implied meaning) and the energetic acreage of the process of resolve.

Concerning the contribution of emotions in this process one needs to use the energy of the emotion rather than being driven by the emotion itself.

The adult sense of placement, a response so often learnt early in life, is thwarted with self-criticism and potential failure long before it is manifested.

The process is riddled with ‘being right’, ‘being accepted’…a cry of insecurity.

In doing so, however, the mark is robbed of any life or voice.

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