I have been painting my whole life, which is a lot of years. I consider myself to be an accomplished artist. But even after all this time at the easel, it never gets easier! I start off with an idea and I’m excited and optimistic and charged to go. Then, without fail, I reach “THAT POINT” that’s about midway and nothing seems to be working. One by one I have to start throwing things away…. parts of the painting that I really liked when I did them but further on in to the painting just don’t work with the whole. I have to let go. But before I do that I have to decide what I’m going to put in the lost part’s place. This is the hard part!!!
First I have to make myself let go. I have to convince myself that what’s important is the painting as a whole and not just precious little pieces of it. After I made my first brush stroke the painting took on a life of its own. I have to honor that. Then I start beating myself up for getting in to the mess I’m in. I suck. Who do I think I am thinking I can paint? What’s the point of it all? Everyone else is better than me. Yada yada yada. Mind you, when I say I go through this with every painting I do, I mean EVERY PAINTING I DO! It’s excruciating.
I try to walk away from it. I prop it up somewhere else in my studio and just live with it and try and figure out what to do next. I start other projects. But my heart isn’t in them. My heart is beating inside the mess I made for myself sitting over there on the chair.
Usually the solution involves taking a big breath, psychically closing my eyes and just going for it. This usually involves a big brush and covering something up or changing something that goes against my whole initial plan. I know. I know. It’s just a change of plans. ARGHGHGHGHGHGHG!!!!
So the next time you watch someone paint and you think it looks so easy, or that that person is blessed by god to be able to do what you think you can’t do, remember what I just wrote. The process tears out your heart at the same time you’re trying to give the new piece a chance to live. It’s hard. It’s never easy.
But I can’t stop myself.
To find out why I’m putting myself through this, please visit http://www.usaprojects.org/project/heartbeat.