I'm going to be rather vulnerable here. There's a big part of me that would like to create the impression that as an artist, I always know what I'm doing, but that wouldn't really be true. Most of the time, I do feel very confident with what I paint but then there are times that make me realize I have so much yet to learn. This week, I almost ruined a 4' x 5' painting.
The oil painting in question is a very large abstract, and as I've explained in past blogs, I am never in complete control of an abstract painting. They really do have a mind of their own. Well, it turns out this painting had self-destructive tendencies I had to deal with. I had thought I was about half done with paint application and I kind of liked where it was going and was having fun working on it. Then two days ago, I was applying paint, a little here, a lot over there, more paint here, scrape off some there, and eventually I stood back and realized I'd just completely ruined the piece. So I was going to let it all dry and then re-cover it all with aluminum leaf and start all over again.
I felt like God just before the flood, regretting even making this monstrosity. I was ready for the 40 days and 40 nights of deluge and looking forward (though rather defeated feeling) to starting over.
That's when Joy stepped to the back of my studio and took a look at it. "Oh, that's really bad," she whispered. (She's honest like that.) And I said I was going to have to start all over. Then she suggested just wiping off all the paint I had just applied that day and then taking a look at it the next day with fresh eyes. So I did, and something really weird happened. When I wiped off the fresh paint, a little paint film still stuck to the rest of the piece; a fog of blues, greens and whites. Hmmmm. Interesting. That slight film I was unable to remove completely softened the whole thing and brought everything together.
The next morning I came in and was not repulsed (always a good sign) and was able to completely save the piece. Whew.
There is a lesson here I think.