I've done some more work on this painting. It didn't feel like it had been that long since I'd worked on it, but it is a bad sign when you need to dust your pallete off before use.
Here's the current status:
I have always loved cropped details of my paintings. The way that the colors and textures interact always feels surprising to me - like something I didn't intend, but just happened upon when I wasn't paying attention. Here's a detail from my recent efforts:
I tend to feel like details like this make really nice abstract compositions, and yet I very rarely paint abstractly, and when I do, the results lack interest for me. Abstract painting in general lacks interest for me. As with poetry, where I love a good turn of phrase or pairing of words, but cannot get into work that is all about the aesthetics of words without any larger story or image involved, I love the abstract details of interacting paint, but need it to be couched in a discernible narrative, image, or idea.
For a as long as I've been painting, that larger image has almost always involved the human figure, but in this painting so far, and in my last one, I actually ended up paying much more attention to the background. As if the figure was an excuse for painting bushes and wallpaper. It makes me wonder if I should try doing some work that is not abstract, but not figurative. Work where I abandon the figure altogether, and focus on what I've been putting behind them.