I am still exploring -- both through painting and photography -- this tension between form and formlessness, between "things and no-thing-ness" (as Eckhart Tolle puts it).
This one began with an old metal door that had been repeatedly covered with graffiti and painted over, so I just played with the colors until I found something that pleased me. Unfortunately there were four buttons across the top that just weren't working for me; just not having the impact I wanted.
So I went back to the folder in which these images are stored, and there was another door image, different door, also with four buttons, but I liked those buttons better. So I cut them out and pasted them in, planning to erase the work around them and just leave the buttons.
But I like that rectangle. And once I'd gotten the colors to a point where they felt right with the other door (the two doors are actually very different colors) I really liked the effect of the light on the lower left of that bar.
So why is it that I'm better able to achieve effects I like through photo collage than through painting? The obvious answer is that I am a far better (and more experienced) photographer than I am a painter. But also -- thank you, Photoshop! -- I can play more, and there are ALWAYS do-overs. If I don't like one direction, I can step back and try another.
Obviously life doesn't work that way (for some reason I'm hearing that old hymn in my head: "Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away; they lie forgotten as a dream dies at the opening day.")
So perhaps the joy I find in Photoshop -- even though it has a way of eating time! -- is that it's also a way of cheating time; of going back and working and re-working "until you get it right" -- kind of like that wonderful movie, Groundhog Day.
Still staring at this image, I also realize that at heart its beauty is really quite random; some person just slapped paint on a door, trying to cover up obscenities. They weren't attempting to create a work of art. So maybe there's a clue in that, too: I'm just trying too hard. Maybe I just need to slap some paint around and see what happens.
Somehow, though, I can't imagine the end result of anything I would paint could possibly compare to this...