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Francis Bacon On The Ambiguities Of Paint In Painting

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From Interviews with Francis Bacon
DS David Sylvester – FB Francis Bacon

Pg 17

DS What is it above all that happens with the paint? Is it the kind of ambiguities that it produces?

francis_bacon-portraitofmichelleiris1

FB And the suggestions. When I was trying in despair the other day to paint that head of a specific person, I used a very big brush and a great deal of paint and I put it on very, very freely, and I simply didn’t know in the end what I was doing, and suddenly this thing clicked, and became exactly like this image I was trying to record. But not out of any conscious will, nor was it anything to do with illustrational painting.

What has never been analysed is why this particular way of painting is more poignant than illustration. I suppose because it has a life of its own. It lives on its own, like the image one’s trying to trap; it lives on its own, and therefore transfers the essence of the image more poignantly. So that the artist may be able to open up or rather, should I say, unlock the valves of feeling and therefore return the onlooker to life more violently.

Bacon Portraits

….there is a possibility that you get through this accidental thing something much more profound than what you really wanted.

I think I tend to destroy the better paintings, or those that have been better to a certain extent. I try and take them further, and they lose all their qualities, and they lose everything. I think I would say that I tend to destroy all the better paintings.

Interviews with Francis Bacon
By David Sylvester
Thames and Hudson
Reprinted 2008
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