Say what you will about creating art, “It’s fun!”, “I wish I could just play with paint (or clay or wood) all day”. It is fun. Why else would we do any of it?
The fact is, though, is that it is also hard. I’m not whining, just saying. There’s the technical aspect, how to make paint reflect what you see and feel, which brushes to use for what. The old saying about getting to Carnegie Hall pertains here, too. Practice, practice, practice. When someone asks me how long a piece took to print, I usually respond, “Oh, about 30 years.” Sure, it’s a smartass answer, but it’s a stupid question.
There’s no such thing as perfect
Harder is the fact that every painting is pushing boundaries. What happens if I ___ ? It’s the second guessing. It’s never being satisfied. Pleased sometimes, sure, but never totally happy with the final piece. Every painting is a process, trying things, sometimes scraping away the paint to try again, sometimes building on what’s there. It’s knowing that sometimes you’ll succeed the first time out. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, the painting is ultimately no good.
Then there are those days when sometimes a painting just … works. It comes together quickly and easily. A couple of long sessions to get it down and a couple of short sessions to take care of the details. And sometimes I have to work at it. You can see that the painting below, for instance, has been through several versions.
On this painting, “Irises and Peonies”, the focal point – the flowers and vase – came together pretty quickly and easily. The background and table, however, gave me fits. You can see the trials, the good ideas that weren’t so hot, and steps along the whole process.
I’m going to have to let it sit for a day or so to decide if I finally have hit the right solution. Have I? Let me know what you think.