Hello, my dear blog readers. Today was not the best of days. I tried to paint all day, but it just wasn't there. I can't explain it, other than to say that I will be happy once tomorrow is here. Do I go to bed early, so that today is over sooner? No, because what if I fall asleep right away, wake up at 3 am, and toss for the rest of the dark hours? Unappealing. Not fun. I have to just hang in there, try not to break anything else, burn anything else, injure anything else, or shed any more tears. It was just one of those days. Let's talk about something else.
The day before yesterday, I finished a larger painting I have been bringing along. I really like how it turned out, especially the colors. What I find interesting, when working on a painting, is how if it is a painting I really like, it is so much harder to complete it. Because I don't want to "mess it up", it is almost as though I become paralyzed to the point where I can barely touch the brush to surface anymore! I remember the words of one of my college professors, who used to say, don't get too attached to any one part of a painting. You will work on that one part of the painting, while the rest of the painting suffers, or (worse, sometimes) you will work on the rest of the painting, not wanting to let go of the one, beloved spot. Then, when you step back and look at it, you will realize all of the cohesiveness is lost. So true!!!
Here is what happened to me with this big painting. I had an idea for how I was going to rework the background, and as I worked on it, it kept coming along better than I thought. The colors seemed to blend together effortlessly! The textures were interesting! I loved this background!!! Look at it! I did. Sitting in a chair, for quite some time. Thinking that maybe I shouldn't do anything else to it. You know, though, it just isn't me. I am a figure painter! Not a landscape artist. There is just no way I can't paint a painting and not put some kind of "figure" in it. So, at long last, with pain, I lightly circled in one, and then two "figures". I know, I know, if you are into realism you aren't going to follow me here. You just have to trust me when I say that these are figures. Okay?
Well, I had a new problem. I loved - LOVED - the way these light strokes of the figures looked. They looked like pastel especially the top one - a light color pastel on top of a dark background. They looked even better close up!! But when I sat back down on my chair, I realized that no matter how much I liked them, the painting wasn't done yet. I sat for a while longer, enjoying my love, which I would ultimately destroy. So I took another breath, took a photo, and finally got up the nerve to jump in again. It was terrifying! I knew, with each brushstroke, that I risked losing everything I had grown so fond of in this painting. If the figures didn't come out of the dark like they needed to, I would probably have to scrape them off, repaint the background, and begin again. (with the possibility of another week's drying time in there somewhere!)
This story does have a happy ending for me. Don't despair! I do think I managed to pull it off. The figures did what they needed to do (stand out) and the beloved background survived.
The moral of the story? Be brave. What is the saying? "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgement that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. For now you are travelling the road between who you think you are, and who you can be." -Meg Cabot