At last month’s meeting, my art buddy Marty Gregg challenged me to make a big painting. “At least 11 x 17,” he said. “Okay,” I said, gulping.
Other friends had challenged me to get out of my journal and onto a larger canvas. But I liked the comfort zone of my journal pages. I liked the non-threatening nature of a smaller page.
But I also like a challenge, so I went for it. Now, this isn’t my usual MO, but the night before our breakfast meeting, I got out the big paper and cast around my studio for something to paint. I love my succulents, so I decided to paint my office/studio window.
It’s not done – you can see some white spots – and I don’t fully like it. In fact, when I went to bed, I was grumbling about the whole art thing. “Why am I doing this? What’s this all about, anyway? There’s no soul in that painting.”
Luckily, sleep sucked me away from this whiny tirade and in the morning I had more compassion for myself. “Of course you’re insecure about this – it’s new to paint this big. Of course you don’t like it – you haven’t finished it yet and it’s not really what you want to paint. Of course it feels ‘off’ to you – this isn’t your favorite palette.”
I hauled the painting, along with my notebooks, to our breakfast meeting. Our conversation ranged from technique to why we make art to how we can challenge ourselves without choking ourselves. I left filled up and ready for this month’s creative exuberance.
As I looked through my work to see what to share this week, I wanted to show things I like better. I really want to show last week’s chiles painting again, because I love them so much.
But I don’t think my mission to show my art is all about looking good. It’s about sharing my process, because I know that you go through the same kind of stuff. I want to show a painting in process of me trying new things. Mixing three colors. Leaving white space. Drawing larger. Oops – painting on the wrong (very porous) side of the paper.
When I think about the things I am practicing and learning, I feel much differently about this painting. I like it. I respect it. Is it a great work of art? No. Is it a great sign of process and progress? Yes. That’s enough for me for now.
What about you? Do you ever come around to liking a piece of art or writing because you see your process in it?