What do you do when you nail it? What do you do when the painting just fell from the brush and you think to yourself, “How’d I do that?”
Like the songwriter who’s written a hit, the next blank canvas awaits. Now what? I had this happen to me this week and here’s what I did…
Both of Monday’s paintings were pretty decent plein air efforts although I liked my first one better than the second. That’s just part of the fun as an artist. Just being outside on a beautiful day was reward in itself.
Tuesday’s still life from a recent photograph was one of my better pieces this year. It just worked. I sat back, put on “Cristo Redentor” by Donald Byrd and enjoyed the moment. You need these moments to keep you going. Treat yourself right.
Wednesday came. Immediately there were a 1,000 reasons to not paint. Stopping myself, I said out loud, “Enough. Let’s do this. I’m an artist.” Heading to my favorite plein air spot I painted with little enthusiasm because I was still looking backwards and not forwards. I stood there staring at my canvas thinking, “Really?”
Not every painting, song, quilt, photograph, poem, or short story is going to be a pinnacle experience. (Even the Disciples had to figure it out, Matthew 17) It’s ok to savor the moment. However, the present and future are calling. Meaning, you gotta move on to the next best right thing. For me, that’s picking up the brush and a blank canvas. Next!
I knew Wednesday’s painting lacked vibrancy so I worked on it some more in the studio, but alas, no magic. Knowing not every painting is frameable, I decided to go for it as it’s not like I could wreck it, right? Whipping out my palette knife I slung paint with reckless abandon. Before long – a decent, emotional, albeit imperfect painting appeared. I smiled as I learned something new. I’d just won the lottery for the second time this week. Wahoo!
Was it as good as Tuesday’s? Nope. I suppose it’s like that in any artistic endeavor. You have to be PROLIFIC for magic to happen. You have to be willing to make BAD art to get to the GOOD art – and that ain’t being mystical – that’s just the hard truth.
You have to be willing to do the next best right thing for your art.
Today, wherever you make your art, be willing to get it wrong to get it right. Just make art! I’ll be cheering for you. Let me and others know what you did. Let’s help each other on this.. feel free to comment below.
onwards, sideways, & wahoo!