A long time ago I was told not to smudge the graphite to create tone when drawing faces. Much later I taught students to model by adjusting the pressure on the pencil. Otherwise, I would caution, you are creating an unintentional medium you did not intend to create. Graphite + the dirt and oils of your fingers. Here I when I see this method applied I see the interaction with creator and creation. The literal mixing of these 2 entities.
There is a passage on this piece in which a cattail is—I don’t know whether to say filled in or fleshed out—with finger-smudged graphite. This passage is effort-filled and tense. The graphite gives way to plum colored paint as the cattails continue through the piece. In contrast to the cattail rendered in graphite with a kind of myopic control, there is another described with the most distant and casual mark, the drip. It is suddenly interesting to me, the contrast between effort and grace. I see in this piece a record of the tension between the artist and the artwork.
The format of the scroll offers a temporal experience. You move from one end of the painting to the other. Also horizontal and dependent on time: landscape and music.
This piece made me think of music, the progression and variation of abstract elements moving through time.
I believe it takes courage to enter a work of art as its creator. Soon it refuses to be subservient and takes you to the edge of a world that very well might be flat.