Monday, February 28, 2011

Mistakes are all part of the journey!

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful day and is ready to jump into a new week.  This has been an interesting week for me with my painting.  Although I did not get a lot painted, what did get painted took a lot more time than what I had originally thought it would.  I was not sure what the problem was at first.  I was concentrating.  The subject matter interested me.  I knew what it was that I was trying to accomplish, but it just was not translating clearly onto the canvas.  I could not be decisive and make the final determination of what it was that I was trying to lay down on that particular piece of canvas.  I thought that I had the bones of a good painting and just had to flesh it out and finish it.  Those were my famous last words!

I could put all this down to just being one of those weeks when the paint brush is not connected to my brain.  But the truth is that I was working on something that was more complex than I had originally thought it would be.  Marking out segments on the canvas and deciding what colour would go into each one seemed a simple enough task.  But, once I started painting, my decisions concerning my colour choices haunted me.  I was not happy with the colour palette.  What was I going to do?  Then, to make matters worse, I questioned my choice of the way the segments were laid out.  This is not a good way to work on a painting.

Knowing that I want the three paintings to relate and hang in close proximity to each other, I know that the subject matter needs to be somewhat consistent.  The colours used on each canvas should flow from one to the other and so on.  I should be able to look at the three paintings and feel good about what I have painted.  But, I am not happy with the way the second painting is developing.  I like the first painting very much.  It almost feels like my "break through" painting, the one that defines my style, my ideas, and where I want to go with my art, or at least one area of my artistic desires.  The second painting changes every time I pick up my paint brush and work on it.  I enjoy working on it and I do not feel desperate, sad or even the vaguest sense of melancholy about the way it is progressing.  This part of the journey is the challenging part, the time when you make mistakes with your choices of colour, direction or whatever.  The point is that you realize that you have a problem and go about finding a way of solving it.

It would be so easy to put the canvas under the bed and pull out a fresh one to start over.  But, I am stubborn and determined that this painting will eventually work out and be one of my better ones.  I am not giving up on this part of my journey.  All this is happening for a reason, that being to teach me patience, perseverance and the realization that I need to hone up on my techniques.  I am not a professional painter by any means.  I am going to be learning new aspects of the craft for a very long time.  I expect that I will learn something new with each and every painting session and I do.  It may be a minor achievement like blending colours or putting more texture into my work.  The point is that I am learning and the more important point is that I can openly state that I make mistakes and need to rethink what it is that I am trying to achieve on this particular canvas. 

Canvas #2 is not a write off, nor will it ever be.  I am also thinking of the various canvases hidden under my bed or stashed in various places in my flat.  I need to honestly take a look at each and every one of these and see where I went wrong and then find a way to remedy it.  So, I am putting up a picture of how the second of the three paintings is progressing and although I am not satisfied with it, I do need to be honest with you and show you the rough, raw stages a painting can go through before it turns that corner and the end result is as you hoped or even better.  It would be wrong of me to say that I just could not find the time to paint and had nothing to show you.  So, I would be really interested in your comments on what you see and what you think in this case.  I know how I plan to change what is on the canvas so far.  But, for the moment, I need to stand back and look at it some more and make notes on what it is about this painting that bothers me,

What else will I do?  I will probably grab another canvas and paint just for the joy of painting.  I will not try to make this painting part of a series.  It will be a one off, just a single painting, something of no real significance or that has any hidden meanings in it.  That is what is running through my mind right now as I write this post.  But, you know artists are known to change their minds frequently and take a turn to run down another road in their journey.  It may mean another stab at something along the same theme as my original trio of Art Deco paintings or it may be something radically different.  But, the main point is that I am not quitting.  I am not going to toss all my paints, brushes and canvases into the trash bin and consider that experiment done and over with.  This is not an experiment for me, this is my life and I take it pretty seriously.  I love painting.  I love the way I feel when I am painting.  If I were to give all this up, there would be a huge void in my life that would not be easily or possibly ever filled.

Where does all that leave me?  Well, it leaves me with a lot of thinking to do before I work on the second canvas again.  I need to rethink the layout, the design, the colour palette and a lot of other things.  Monday will probably find me sanding down some areas of the canvas, sketching out possible solutions in my journal along with working on the colour palette using coloured pencils.  I am not someone who easily gives up.  I can be quite tenacious when something is important to me.  And, it is not just important to me, it is important for you as well.  I want to be honest and tell you when I have messed up with a canvas and that I am working on corrections.  This journey did not guarantee me a smooth trip and for you the reader, I am giving you a stroke by stroke accounting of what is going on and what is not happening.  This is called accountability, being honest, being truthful and more importantly, that it is more than okay to make mistakes.   I have to expect to make mistakes on this journey.  It is how I handle them that is more important.  Once I have found a way to correct the mistake, I have learned a new lesson in this journey.  That is the key to evolving and becoming the artist that you want to become.

Have a great week!  Hopefully, by Thursday I will have something more complete to show you with regards to my Calla Lily #1 painting.  By then, I may have learned many lessons.  At least I am hoping that is so!

Sincerely,   Rutheemac


Anonymous said...

I agree absolutely! Some of my favorite work results from not giving up when a "mistake" occurs.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome post Ruthee. So very true too. XOXOXO :) "the joy is IN the journey" right? :) Have a wonderful night my friend. :) --Kim

Ruthee said...

Naomi, you are so right, some of the best work does come out of our mistakes. As artists, we work on our paintings every chance we get. We see the shaky lines, a misplaced shadow or whatever problem develops within that particular piece of art. But, we do not give up. Even in inperfection there is still beauty.

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!


Ruthee said...

Kim, the joy is in the journey and that is what keeps us motivated to keep doing what we do. Your positive outlook is what makes your business successful. The glass is always half full!

Thank you for your wonderful tweets and for your comment!


Anonymous said...

Great post Ruth. "Mistakes are not mistakes when they have become lessons." I recently did a hummingbird sculpture that did not turn out exactly as I had hoped. But I still love it for the learning experience:)
Life is the same. Isn't it? Being honest and authentic is so crucial to living a free and happy life!!!
Thank you for this wonderful blog post. I related to what you wrote:)


Ruthee said...

We learn from everything we do, but most from things that present a real challenge. I think that's the biggest lesson for us to learn, that and not allowing a difficult challenge to make us give up. Thank you for all you have taught me artistically and in life!