Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Staying in Process...cont'
"Ready for Anything" original oil 6x6"
I received several responses to my last post, all from people saying they were affected by 3/4 painting paralysis. It seems to be quite universal, this making the painting precious once we're getting somewhere with it. The human aspect comes into play, when we like something we want to hold on to it...forever if possible. (Long time.) So then every brushstroke we put down starts to feel like moving away from what we have instead of moving toward something better, and instead of thinking about painting, we’re thinking about not screwing up the painting.
What’s the answer? The best one I have found is daily paintings. Doing lots of small paintings of short duration that don’t have a large time investment or big things riding on the outcome, creates a space for willingness to let it be what it will, to just paint. And I am definitely finding ever so slowly, this attitude is transferring to my larger work. The line between big and small, lots of time invested or little, commercial work or school work, is starting to fade. I am more willing to just keep putting paint down, even on the big guys - consequences be damned.
This past week I was working on a 24"x48" that started going south, and instead of freaking out, I sat down and listened. After a few moments, ever so quietly, the painting said, "I need to be a little bluer over here, oh yes, and lighter. A softer edge down here. And this shape needs some tweaking, don't you think?" Sometimes these things are spoken so softly they are barely a whisper. That's when I need to turn down the volume on my own ideas for the painting, because often it is exactly these that are drowning out what's essential.
PS: I am curious if this is more a female experience than male. Any male readers out there, it would be interesting to know if you share this sense of stress mid-painting as it's sorting itself out, or if you're all just supremely confident from beginning to end... :)