Friday, December 30, 2011

Back in Sync

For the past two weeks I have felt out of sync. Nothing on the painting I was working on seemed to
work out the way I wanted it to. The paint wasn't blending the way I wanted it to; tones didn't seem correct; everything seemed to be a messy and sloppy. I was working on painting number two for an important deadline and really needed to have everything come out as close to perfect as possible. You've already heard me complain about the painting with the two guys and a girl sitting on a box on a pier to know that that was a troublesome piece. It is also the piece I have been working on for about two weeks.

Thinking back, I realized that during that time I was sick with the flu and was also suffering from some intense neck and back pains. No wonder I was out of sync! My body and health were a wreck! Now that I am feeling better my work is starting to flow again...should that really be a big surprise? And yet, somehow, I didn't make the connection until recently. Sadie Valeri, who I recently took a painting class with, said during class about a month ago, that you really need to be at your best in order to paint at your best. In other words, being hung-over, drunk, high, or even sick are just not  states to be in in order to paint well. Also, being tired or hungry can also be added in to the "not good states to be in for painting categories" since they affect your body and mind too. It didn't make much sense to me when she said it, but now I'm a believer. After being sick for two weeks and really struggling with my painting, I've come to the conclusion that Sadie is right.

I was so frustrated with how I was painting and beating myself up for it, not thinking that my health had anything to do with it. I'm really good at getting down on myself when my paintings aren't turning out the way they should when really I should have been doing is asking myself "am I tired? hungry? sick?" and evaluating myself based on that. Like I said in previous posts, sometimes the obvious reasons/ solutions don't come to me quickly. Experience is really teaching me a lot about studio practices, even if it may come slowly to me.

Two days ago, when I decided to just let the painting I was working on "rest" (it was that or take a hammer to it...I was that frustrated with it) while I did something else, everything started to "flow" again.  I started two new pieces and finished the under-paintings rather quickly and with ease. My juices are flowing again and I feel good about what I am painting...and guess what? I'm not sick anymore and my neck and back are feeling better! I may actually get these two paintings done by Monday, which is my goal. I still have to go back and finish the painting of the two guys and the girl on the box, but I'm thinking after a break from it, and now that I am feeling better, it shouldn't be such a struggle.

So what's the lesson here? If you aren't feeling well physically (or mentally), sometimes it's just easier to rest and get better than to force yourself to do work. It may not always be possible (I do have deadlines), but in a perfect world, we would only paint when we are at our best physically.

I startes this one on Wednesday and only had one of the women
 painted in. I finished the under-painting yesterday.

As the previous painting was drying, I started this piece. I am still
working on the umbrella and decided that I would get that as "finished" as
 possible instead of just doing a quick underpainting since the
polka dots are a bitch to paint.

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