I think somewhere along the way, I’ve mentioned my troubles with that vast middle stage of working on a painting. When I begin a painting, I have a wonderful time energetically covering the whole surface of the canvas or panel with lots of beautiful shapes and colors. It seems that anything is possible. I have a clear vision of where I’m going. Ending a painting is when I am putting on the final touches. The work comes together practically on its own. It’s a truly magical time, like being transported into another world.
But the time I’m referring to is the dreaded middle stage in the creation of a painting. At least it’s the stage I dread.
When I’m in the throes of the middle stage of working on a painting I’m reminded of my children on long road trips. A time when the “when will we get there” phrase was uttered all too often. A time when I felt just the same as they did but and felt like I would go insane unless a) they stopped saying it or b) we finally got there. If you have children or ever were one, you’ll know what I mean. Well, this is the way I feel at this stage of painting. It’s a bit like trying to walk through quicksand or heavy snow. It’s one step forward and two steps back. It’s feeling like I’m getting nowhere and am not likely to ever get anywhere.
That’s when Jim has to remind me that this is part of my process and that I will figure out what needs to be done. And I know this, I just don’t feel it. So it helps to get reminded. And in the end, all of the adding and subtracting and then adding again, layer after layer after layer, contributes to the richness of the final piece. It sure would be fun be able to cut to the chase, do the start, skip the middle and head straight to the finish and call it a day. The middle is why much of what being an artist is all about is just plain hard work. Like Robert Frame, one of my art instructors from way back when used to say, “Let inspiration find you working”. Which is just what I plan to do.
This week I managed to remember to take a photo at the end of each working day. You can see below that if I made any progress at all it was incremental. Or maybe I went backwards? And I did work hard all week, honest.
While I admit I’ve been feeling lost, today I think I’ll be taking a turn into some fruitful painting and will begin to find my way. Can’t wait to get back to painting. Gotta go!