The way I look at at, process isn't always pretty, but it is the majority of what goes into artwork. I would imagine that viewers of art who do not draw or paint rarely take into consideration what the process looks like... or, however, if they do, perhaps it's a huge mystery. So this post is all about debunking that, showing you the ugly side of my own process, and opening myself up to the vulnerabilities that come with the beautiful life of an artist.
The truth is, I've had a really hard time getting back into painting. I keep hearing myself say things that I know aren't really true, but it's hard not to believe them when I'm my biggest critic and my loudest voice. I'll hear things like, "You're not really a painter. Come on, that wave really sucks. You should just give it away now and stop worrying about it." But really? C'mon, the thing isn't even finished yet! That's when I started listening to the audiobook, Big Magic, by the author of Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert. In it, she describes her life as a creative, and how to embrace fear and get work done, knowing that fear will always be there. One thing she mentions which really hit home for me is the idea that, "Done is better than good". So fantastic!
This resonated with me so much that I went home later and put a new layer of paint on this painting I've been avoiding.
During a painting's process (aside from other artists I'm working with/around), I naturally feel like shrugging into myself and hiding it's progression, because it's raw and incomplete, like me - a hot mess of color and texture that may not make sense yet, may not have form, substance and a message yet, and may never will... but... that's ok! Because done is better than good, right?! So, today I decided that instead of shrug inward and hide it all, I'll stand tall and show you some of my processing.
Oh man, this wave painting. Seriously. This is a piece I've kept avoiding and avoiding. I created the background for it almost 2 years ago. Then, when I decided to paint a wave, I found an image that inspired me, and totally avoided starting for, like, 2 months. I had to make an artist friend date for accountability to begin. So, then when I did get the pastel down as you see on the left side, I couldn't stand how friggin' FLAT the freakin' wall of the wave was! I would stare at it and stare at is and will it away (oh, sweet Taurus with rising sign Leo, so willful I am!!). No amount of thinking it gone worked. I swear I tried so hard I finally hard to cover the whole dang thing up.
Then, the other day when I uncovered it, I realized how lonely it was, and saw the straight wall and shuddered. Then, something came over me, like a trance, like fairy dust or something, and with the feeling, I suddenly remembered... "oh yeah... you have to take action, Mia... it's time to actually put some work in, Mia..." and I did! Once I'd worked with the gels, I fell back in love with the painting, and the love was all I needed to get back into it. So, a couple days ago, I mixed up some different acrylic mediums to produce an iridescent pink glossy gel, and painted in over the pink pastel parts of the cresting wave. That inspired me to keep going, and yesterday while it was dry, I did the same with the purple (as you can see on the right image). Then I took out the palm tree and island mock up, and... YES! Reworked the wall of the wave to give it a good curve. Fixing it brought me some much needed solace. It was all about intuitive problem solving using an eraser and some colors. Yummy.
Yay! I feel great getting this all out there! I hope this was informative, and I'd love to hear what you have to say about your own art processes before something is finished... do you tend to hate it, cover it up, forget about it, throw it away, burn it, find it later somewhere, start again? How do you push yourself to keep working something when you don't feel the magic anymore?
Have a beautiful weekend!