Thursday, May 20, 2010
I am so excited to share my breakthrough which occurred yesterday at the studio. I painted a portrait of a friend and it's turning out really well! Why this is a breakthrough is because I have avoided portraits until now due to their intense ability to stress me out. They are so specific, especially if it's a person close to you. I can't show the piece as it's a surprise for a friend and she might see it but after she has it I will post it. The back story to my breakthrough started when I attempted to paint a portrait of my daughter when she was about 2 yrs. old. I had parts of her that were right and others that weren't. Well, the anal perfectionist couldn't STAND the fact that I didn't nail it so I got so frustrated I painted the whole thing black. Now this saddens me because I wish I had that painting to look back on, if even for an example of where my abilities were then. But it is gone and I have avoided portraits ever since then as a result of my frustration. I just don't do people, or so I thought. This is why for me to dive in and try a portrait is a success, and then to not hate it is a super accomplishment! Hip hip hooray! Today I will develop it further, as it's sort of my subject person but not quite yet. At least I'm not freaking out and painting over it, I guess I have matured? somewhat and I am calmly going to try and work out the areas that will make it 'her'. There is a definite correlation between wanting to paint a piece, being excited even, to making a successful painting. The paintings that I get excited about are good, they almost paint themselves. The ones where I 'think' too much are not as successful, and I struggle to get them right. A telltale sign of a good piece is when I can't wait to get started, as was the case with my last two pieces. I really am learning a lot about myself and the process just by 'doing it'. There's much to be said about suiting up and showing up in every aspect of life and painting is no different. It doesn't require an inherent talent, it doesn't require education, these things are helpful yes, but even more valuable is simply perseverance. The simple act of doing something over and over will always make you better, it just takes the discipline of doing it. I never thought of myself as a disciplined person and yet I suppose I am. I wasn't born an artistic genius, I never even gravitated to art until my late teens. I thought it was fun. I never thought I was an artist, or very good. But I kept doing it anyway, and now I see myself getting better and that motivates me to keep going. I'm no where near where I'd like to be, but I certainly won't get there unless I do the work. Now that I'm older and somewhat wiser I see the value in progress not perfection. Perfection is simply ego. Accepting what I can do is grace. I will take grace any day.
Posted by Carrie Clayden at 9:20 AM