Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.
Have you ever looked at all of your paintings in reverse order? I recently did this by sheer happenstance.
This summer on plane ride to Toronto my seat mate asked what I did for a living. Upon finding out I was an aspiring artist she naturally wanted to see my work. Which I, of course, have on my iPad.
When she scrolled through my current work 2016, 2015, I felt ok. However, when 2014 rolled around some unease began to grow. By the time 2013, 2012, rolled around there was genuine discomfort working its way up my spine and when 2011 and 2010 showed up, it was downright ugh. Who painted that? Wait a minute. I’m the artist. Are you kidding me? I sat there quietly wishing I had control of my iPad once again.
What a great learning opportunity that airplane ride was! I would never have done this on my own because quite frankly I’m not looking back but rather only looking ahead to the next painting.
Who among us haven’t wondered aloud if our painting “glacier” has moved? Taking a walk through the past is something you may want to consider the next time that particular question arises. For me, it was cathartic as I saw my brush’s growth.
If you’ve never done this I would throw this out to you. Take an hour or so to look at your past work starting with your most current and work in reverse. Enjoy each painting again but using your “today” set of eyes. You’ll see them in a fresh light.
Granted, some may make you cringe (mine did) and some may make you smile as you relive the memory of when you created it. Paintings are essentially living postcards – they remind you of a time and spot.
Take stock of where you have journeyed. Enjoy where you are. Look forward to where you’re headed.
You may even learn something from yourself.
Onwards and Sideways,