Artistic Stuggles

12:41 AM

Some days you've got it, and some days you don't. That couldn't be more true for me and my art. 
Some days I want it, and some days I don't. (Most days I do, but occasionally I won't.) 
Although this blog would tell you otherwise, I have been on artistic overload lately. I labor at my easel 6 days a week. I also dilly dally at my easel 6 days a week. And I also relish at my easel 6 days a week.  It is nuts to think about the emotional range my easel provides each week. 

Work in progress. Painting day 7. 

Recently, I've been working on one particular piece amongst completing another 5 other pieces. It is a simple 8x10in (though I think I will end up cropping the painting surface even more.) I've done many compositions similar, however, this one has been a struggle. It's a terrible kind of struggle, too!

This project, at least to this point, is experienced as follows:

I spend my hours in class nearly distracted by thinking about the things I can work on when I get to my easel later in the day. Once I get there, take my pallet from the freezer (oil paint doesn't freeze, it just keeps fresh in the freezer,) and start working it is wonderful! 
Painting day 1: I go crazy and my brush flies around the surface. The more I look and figure out the puzzle of the composition, the more things I find I can lay in and begin to draw with my brush. I draw and shift paint around for hours. 
Painting day 2: I return excited to see my "great" piece of art emerging and what do you know? It's horrendous! I can see so many mistakes my eyes had become immune to during the last session. So then, slowly, I attempt the "fixing." I fix and fix until once again I am immune. Usually by that point, I have exhausted my efforts and step away for the day.  
Painting day 3: I still find the piece horrendous, even with all my fixed errors from the previous day; however, I feel SO GOOD about it now because I can see the changes and I can SEE the errors! That is the first step to correct errors: finding the errors. So bravo to me. (Silly, but you do have to mentally reward, criticize, analyze yourself and your mind as you are painting. You learn so much from your own thoughts while you're working.) I also spend sometime, if needed, scraping away at the paint on the surface with a razor. It helps to "ruin" a piece before you fix it. That way you don't try to salvage the bad parts you've worked so long at. Afterall, they are not worth salvaging. And if you've painted it once, you can paint it again. 
Painting day 4: repeat day 3
Painting day 5: repeat day 4
Painting day 6: This is the day. This is the day I make it or break it. This is the day where nearly all my efforts are exhausted at the start, rather than the end, as it has been for the past few days. This is the day that I just sit and look. I don't attempt to fiddle with my brush unless I know for sure there is something grand to be done. For this piece, I decided it was not perfect. I was not happy. So, in order to attempt another large re-work on the same surface, I began a small sketch of "perfect" angles on another surface. Then I got carried away . . . and nearly painted a new painting. The old painting went promptly into the drawer. 
Painting day 7:  I return excited to see my "great" piece of art emerging and what do you know? It's horren . . . not too bad! I can see so many mistakes my eyes had become immune to during the last session, but they're only little. So then, slowly, I attempt the "fixing." I fix and fix until once again I am immune, and then I keep carefully painting. I let my mind go somewhere else. I don't paint from my textbook knowledge but only from my feelings. That's when the piece becomes alive. 
Painting day 8: That is this coming Monday, we'll see where it takes me. For now, I am satisfied. 

This is just a recollection of the ups and down of this piece. It is never the same, the process that is. But each painting presents to me simple and complex artistic struggles that allow me to learn and grow and let my work flourish. They are many more artistic struggles to come and I welcome them with open arms. 

Painting day 1: Drawing and laying in masses. The face in this image is probably day two, but the arms, hair and body, are certainly remnants from day 1.
Day two: Trying to refine the face shape etc. My drawing should be perfect here, but in this experience it was far from that at this stage. 

Day 6: Do I love it? Will it stay? Will I scrape it off or will that hang on a wall? 

Painting day 7: the new "sketch"

Painting day 8: refining, having fun, and enjoying the piece now. 

You Might Also Like


  1. I love it! Thanks for the window into what it is like to be an incredibly talented, yet always improving, artist! You go girl :)


I'm on Facebook

Featured Post

Gift Guide For The Beginner Oil Painter