I’ve been pushing this painting around as if I’m rearranging a room. No huge, OMG changes but slowly the composition has been coming together and while I know it’s not done yet, I’ve been having fun with this one instead of feeling the dread “why isn’t this coming together?” feeling. I’ve been thoughtful with my brush strokes while still letting my heart guide me. It’s a balance that feels so good when it’s present. Too much heart and the composition tends to get lost and the pallet is all over the place. Too much thought and the painting is tight and has a feeling of being bound. So, I’m feeling pretty good…
…Then I send the in-progress picture to my Mentor. She likes it but says to be careful about being too tidy and that I need to be looser with my brush strokes. I feel frustration coming over because it had felt so good when I was doing it and now I’m questioning that I actually know when I attain that important balance of heart and head and maybe I can’t really recognize it and if I can’t recognize it then maybe I’m not doing it right and if I’m not doing it right then maybe blah blah blah… and now my brain is off to the races. I only need one little bit of doubt to creep in and everything else, all the hard work and that wonderful feeling of balance is, in my mind, shot to shit. Not to mention I’ve already forgotten that she said she liked it.
I have a tendency to lean towards insecurity so by default I take things way too personally and generally assign too much importance to what other people think. This, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with my Mentor. She is a wonderful artist and a lovely friend who gives terrific advice. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience. She has guided me to the place where I am now. She is invaluable and I don’t know what I would do without her. That being said, I think that as an artist, I need to be able to draw a line between the soul of the art, and other people’s advice.
Wilamena and I are skeptical of opinions
When someone gives me advice, I tend to take it. Especially when it comes from people that I love and/or respect. Why wouldn’t I take it? They know more than me. They are further along in their careers than I am. I should take the advice…right? I’m thinking the answer is, not always. And that’s the tricky part. How do I know when I should take the advice and when I should continue on as I have been?
My carpenter Husband says that I should use a mask while sanding...that sounds like good advice from a reliable source.
I’m an emotional person who tends to think in extremes. I go from smiling and being amenable to everyone’s advice to feeling resentful and vowing never to take anyone’s recommendations ever again. (Blog on being a tortured artist forthcoming.) I make the best decisions when I can remove my insecurity from the situation and ask the simple question “Is that right for me and my art?” For instance, I’m looking at my piece 24 hours of cool down later and now that the comments are not so raw, yes, I can indeed see that there are areas that are too tight and tidy. That doesn’t mean that the entire piece is bad, for Pete’s sake! Breathe Girl!
Cross Town Traffic 24x24 Mixed Media on Canvas...and she was right...it was way too tight and tidy.
I suppose that what I need to learn is to do is to say “Thank you” and then give my emotions time to chill before making the decision to fully heed the opinions of others...or not. There is a practicality about advice when it comes from a trusted, experienced source but there is also a point at which I know what’s best within my own process. So, I need to practice getting my Om on in order to find my own voice within this sea of people that know more than me. And let’s face it, sometimes a painting needs a little crazy to balance out the practical. That may just be the contrast that this painting needed.
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