Saturday, August 28, 2010

One Out of Ten

As an artist I am trying to not take it personally when something I am working on doesn't come out exactly the way I wanted it to. I can't expect a masterpiece every time, after all. As my friend, artist/poet Scott Inguito once told me, you're lucky if one out of ten is a winner. But it's difficult not to be hard on myself when I paint a really great piece and the next two don't measure up.

The painting above is one of the paintings I completed this past week. I think It's one of my stronger paintings and I was very excited that it came out so well. The next painting didn't come out as well though. I still haven't completed it, but right from the start, it's not looking the way I want it to. Something about it just isn't right. Her right shoulder looks too big, her head doesn't seem proportional. Perhaps its that it's not a strong image to start with. Perhaps it's because I am not painting it well. I'm not sure what it is, but it's not working for me and it's hard not to get frustrated and just toss it.
So what do I do when something just isn't working the way I want it? As much as it is hard for me to work on something I no longer like, I have to complete it. Sometimes things turn and it works out. The painting starts to look like I want it to and all is well in the world. Sometimes things don't work out and no matter what I do, the painting is not to my liking. Even in times like these, it's important for me to finish paintings that I start. I think it's a good lesson in perseverance and will help me grow as an artist. It's good to force oneself to problem solve at these times.

Reminding myself that not everything I paint is going to be a keeper is important. I can't go into a career in art thinking that everything I do has to be perfect. That would just set myself up for some depressing times when things didn't work and could hinder my ability to paint every day. Also, I realize that what I may dislike, others may like. No one has as more critical of a eye for my artwork as I do. What I may see as a flaw, others may not notice. My least favorite painting could be somebody's favorite. You never know, the painting you hate could end up being a masterpiece someday!

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