When I paint for myself it’s easy because I have no expectations to live up to. When I’m doing a commissioned painting, it’s harder, because reaching perfection is my only option, but it’s also a ridiculous target. Nothing is perfect – and that’s the beauty of it all. Especially in art. The broken lines and harsh paint strokes are what I admire in other artists’ artwork, but in my own it’s never good enough.
That inner struggle can be healthy for an artist because it can push you out of your comfort zone, and you might even explore techniques you wouldn’t have tried unless you were in that dire moment before you decide to set your canvas on fire.
I’ve been there. Ohhh so many times… I could have thrown fuel on my work and lit a match. But I’ve never gone through with it… Not yet at least.
Someone told me the other day that sometimes it has to get worse before it can get better. And that is the bottom line for my artwork.
Step 1: Okay, this will be great I can tell.
Step 2: Hmmm, it’s too dark
Step 3: Now it’s too light
Step 3: Ugh, what is this, what am I doing… This is the worst.
Step 4: Okay… pause, drink wine and breathe.
Step 5: Alright, I like this a bit better.
Step 6: This is taking forever
Step 7: Okay it’s WAY too light
Step 8: $&@! Now it’s too dark
Step 9: Wait… did I finish that whole bottle?!
Step 10: Alright, I think I’m actually finished.
This process can be in the span of a few hours, or sometimes a few days. I even have one piece that I’ve been working on for over a year.
It’s a process, and it takes time and patience. But I’m getting better at having fun with it and not being so hard on myself.
Get messy. Have fun. Be weird. Keep Painting.
That’s the only thing that truly matters.
My latest creation: