Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If we wait until we're ready, We'll be waiting for the rest of our lives.

After all this many decades, I know myself well enough to recognize that if somebody ELSE wants me to meet a deadline, I will do so.  But if it's just me, I can procrastinate until after the cows (and sheep) have metaphorically come home, had a meal and gone to sleep.

My painter friends (and other interested supporters) have noticed that I haven't been painting much over the summer.  I want to paint.  I want to paint better.  I want to deserve to call myself a painter/artist.

But with daily medical appointments and sudden attack-maps, I felt neither ready nor able.

But this morning, I was.  Able.  Willing.  Ready enough. A quarter of a year had passed since I had lifted a paint brush.  Oh, I did some sketches for sanity's sake, but no painting.  No thumbnails, compositions, value studies, blocking in or detailing.

I was also pretty sure that I had left my "studio" in, um, disarray.  Okay, I'd left it in chaos. 
My traveling oil painting cart had been collecting dust in the bedroom.  I hauled it downstairs.
Then I went back upstairs to retrieve my acrylic painting supplies.
Carried that carton downstairs in spite of imminent danger of being tripped by the beloved cat.
As I unpacked the traveling oil paint cart, I realized I could probably sabotage myself for another week or so if I insisted that I pre-clean my work space.
So I didn't.  Sidestepping THAT big of procrastination was a miracle on the order of seeing Jesus's face in a piece of toast.

I could feel my nerve draining.  I knew that the longer I dithered at the easel before  putting paint on canvas the harder it would be.
Almost in a panic, I found a canvas panel, a putty knife (needed something bigger than a palette knife) and some acrylic for underpainting.

Squee!  Squirt!  Squish!  Spread around the read.  Ooze on some raw umber.  See if the Molding Paste jar could be opened and play with that.  After the paint and paste was spread around, I played with some textural tools and scrapers until I realized that I wanted to add more colors... but that even fast-drying acrylic doesn't dry THAT fast.  But I'd broken the ice.  Broken the log jam.  Got re-started.

There's a painting I really want to do... but that I don't have much confidence about.  I even started it.  So, in spite of really WANTING to work on that one, I thought it was only fair to proceed somewhat cautiously.

I found a barely begun landscape of a white barn in the pale green hills of Ohio.  I even found the print out of the reference photograph... which I took in 2012 on our late-winter trek from Texas to New Hampshire.

Remembering that I tend to over-worry and over work my paintings, I scraped off the old wads of paint from my palette, squeezed out a minimal number of hues and got back to work.
 Of course, even wanting to keep it loose, there's more to be done.
And I'm pleased with myself for being back on my journey of seeing, interpreting and sharing....

even if I need to take Ibuprofen for a few days to balance out the sore muscles from holding up something as small as a paintbrush.

Oh... and I've resolved to organize my painting area... and once it IS organized, to keep it that way.
But... no hurry.  I'll do it when I'm ready enough, but before I am perfectly ready.


Merilyn Tandukar said...

I do understand this, Dana, and at times I can't find the energy or space or the time, then all of a sudden I have to paint! Since I returned from China I've had the urge more often and also to paint outside. The air and the light are gorgeous at the moment, even when it's raining. I hope you have started on a new journey in your painting life, just keep going!!

e. Tobin eckian said...

its looking good. keep going? a bit each day even. same time each day will build into a practice?

Anonymous said...

Dana, happy you found your brush! But I know you are always painting in your heart. Love, Jane