Friday, November 4, 2011

perseverance, courage, and replaced fenders

in the last two weeks i have painted five of the best paintings i have probably ever painted.

there were days i painted poorly as well, but i was aware, more than ever before, that my temperament was just not right (i was also aware of its "rightness" on the good days, and painted hurriedly to capitalize on the fleeting feeling). on the day when my temperament was right i felt a sense of control over the process - that i knew ahead of time which mark was needed and how it would look before i laid it down. i had no fear of "losing" the painting and had a renewed confidence that if i did, i could revive it.

those days were like clear skies while the others were fog.

looking today at yesterday's work (sheffield 35) i remember being generally happy with the painting but being displeased with a few areas. for a moment i hesitated, unsure how to improve them and fearful of destroying the entire, otherwise successful, image, should i attempt to fix them and fail. the moment passed quickly, the confidence returned, and i addressed the areas, sometimes making them worse than before, but, persevering, ultimately improving them to harmony with the rest of the painting.

that is the kind of courage that i would have lacked before - leaving the painting instead at "good enough". however, the longer those inadequate areas are left unaddressed the harder it is to fix them. it is nearly impossible for me to add only a few marks to a dray painting days or weeks after i last touched it. those marks appear too obvious, or conspicuous, to me, and seem false - like a replaced car fender in a mis-matched color.