Monday, September 20, 2010

Put A Foot in It!

c. sullivan - "Coming Home" 24" x 24"  Oil on Canvas


I don't know if I'd call it a right of passage but I had a complete meltdown in the studio last week. There I was in the yellowfish zone for hours when, putting some finishing touches on a 2'x 4' landscape, I just exploded in anger. The culprit? A was cleaning up some detailing with a rag while unknowingly the other end was pulling a huge glob of red paint over a large area of just finished white. ARRRRGH!?!?!? I followed that up with loud choice cuss words. Then I froze. It all happened so quickly. So uncontrollably. And I felt so defeated and then, standing there with my foot in my mouth, I realized my fellow artists had stopped to stare at me in silence. Sigh. I fell into my chair and immediately apologized as my face turned red and my rag bunched up in my hands. I bent over and let out a long sigh and began removing the red line when...NOOOoooOOOOO!?!?! You guessed it. I did it AGAIN!?! The scream that came out was even bigger than before. As were the cuss words. Sigh. Okay. Now you can start laughing. And well so can I,,,now. But at the moment I wanted to toss out the entire piece and was actually mumbling under my breath something like, "Painting Sucks!!!" ...only backwards...and threw my rag in the trash and stormed out.

I always run to mother nature for help in these situations and she was ready for me. Large thunderheads  were racing by as the tips of the trees bobbed. I started talking to myself. Focus! Get a grip! What is wrong with you?! Tired? Yeah, ok. But what else? It took me some time to calm down when I realized that during the last half hour or so I was working ahead of myself. It's hard to explain. It's kind of like in golf when I find myself actually thinking about how easy the putt will be after I knock this nine iron shot down the flag's throat and then blindly swing and watch surprised as the ball goes left and...into the water!?! Can you relate??

Well I decided I better get back in there, get back up on that horse and show the painting who's boss. Funny thing is not only did I easily clean up the careless marks I ended up making a few other changes and decisions and the painting is now the better for it. And to be honest, so am I. I'm not sure I can say that I am happy that it happened but it was a huge learning experience.
c. sullivan, "Harvest" 24" x 48" Oil on Canvas

Everyone tells you to take your time with your art. To step back often and allow the painting to have it's own integrity. To build up its history. To allow the painting to take on a life of its own. And it does happen, at least when you get out of your own way. I guess every once in awhile putting your foot in it can actually teach you something worth while. At least it did for me. Brush on!

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