Timing

Someone recently asked me which of my paintings took me the longest…good question! I immediately thought, well the largest ones of course, they involve so many layers upon layers of details and careful study and planning, sometimes taking me weeks to complete. But then I thought, wait a minute, I have some that I became completely stuck on, in that I mean not sure what to do next, or maybe “what’s wrong with this picture?” I know there’s something just not quite right but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is! So I stare at it or stew over it for days, until I have to just put it away and not look at it anymore. It can drive me crazy, but then sometime later, (like maybe a year or more even!) I’ll pull it out and with fresh eyes be able to see what’s missing or wrong and Ta Da, it’s finished! Yep, those ones take a really long time.

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Then I thought, no wait a minute…, there are some subjects that I soooo want to paint, particularly difficult ones with much more detail or complicated structure than I can even figure out. I know I’ll get to them eventually, but as much as I want to try to do it even scared, I know I would be in way over my head, or “boxing above my weight”…as I’ve been told I tend to do sometimes. So I put them off for someday, maybe when my skill levels are stronger and I’m less terrified of that flower!

So yeah, those take the longest, the ones I haven’t done yet but have been meaning to do for years.

So don’t give up friends! Sometimes it’s more about the practice and process in the journey, we’ll get there, or at least have fun trying and hopefully learn from the struggles along the way!

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Extroverting

No, I don't really think that's a word, and maybe I just made it up because all of my titles are verbs ending in -ing, but I think I'll go with it anyway.  This has been a month of putting myself out there.  As a natural born introvert, as most artists I know are, it's not always easy to put your work up for exhibit to the general public or masses whether at an exhibit, or art fair, presentation talk, publication, or in front of a class.  Critique is going to happen, and is necessary for growth as an artist.  Art is such a subjective practice and people have very different interests, and that's a good thing!  Just think how boring the world would be if we were all the same and everyone liked all of the same things.  That being said, I think we all sometimes fear that critique, and it can be paralyzing, or it can make you stronger.  Some people seem to think artistic gifts are inherited, not always so, it takes years of study and practice, and practice, and practice, and sometimes defeat, and trying again.  I'm still nowhere near where I would like my work to be, and when I look at the work of some of my idols and mentors, I'm simply blown away and wonder if I'll ever get anywhere near their skills and results.  That always means more study, more practice, more figuring it out...but what a lovely adventure to be on!

"I have not failed. I've just found ten thousand ways that don't work." -Thomas A. Edison