Monday, January 11, 2010

Ugly Painting, Cute Cat

Madeleine keeps me company while I work. The painting was going well at this point.

The watercolor study in my last post was in preparation for an acrylic painting I did this past weekend. Everything was going quite well with the painting. I was especially excited because it was looking painterly rather than just representational. But then I got a little too enthusiastic and went too far. In my reference photos, there was a beautiful reflection in the wet sand that I really wanted to include but I pushed the wet sand value too dark. It is amazing how quickly a painting can go from success to disaster. But I am embracing the fact that for quite a while, I felt that the painting was successful. I don't often feel that way while painting. Usually when I am painting, my inner conversation goes something like this:

- This painting is coming along nicely. Ooo, I think a dab of paint right there would be just right!

- OMG, now look what you've done! That looks nothing like the reference. What the h*** were you thinking???

- I know I know, I screwed up. But hang on, I think I can fix it. Wait - if I just do this and then add that... There! See, it's fine now.

- Geez, you've GOT to be more careful. You were lucky you could fix it that time. Next time you might not be able to... Aaahhh! Ahhh! What are you doing now??? That looks terrible! You might as well just quit now. That's only going to end up in the trash anyway, so why waste more time on it?

- Could you please just shut up? I can't paint with you yelling.

- Well, why bother painting anyway? You'll never be a real artist. People will laugh at your stuff. Do you honestly think you have any talent? HA! I've seen 12 year olds who can paint better than you.

- Please shut up. Go away. You aren't helping. So I messed up this painting, but I can paint well.

- You are only as good as your last painting and this IS your last painting, Sister. You're getting worse at this, not better. You used to paint better 15 years ago. What the h*** happened?

- Okay, fine. That's enough. I've got to take a break. I can't paint with you yelling at me like this.

- Quitter. You'll never amount to anything if you just give up like that.

*Sigh*. Anyway, as I said, this conversation did NOT play out in my head this time, despite the big disaster. I take that as a very good sign. This is something I have noticed over the past seven months with the 100 Paintings Challenge - those kind of inner conversations happen less often when I paint on a regular basis. Note to self: keeping painting on a regular basis. And practice painting wet sand!


Laure Ferlita said...


Krista Meister said...

Oh my, Gabrielle, I am wiping tears from my eyes, I'm laughing so hard. You should write comedy. Good thing you were able to silence the inner critic this time.

Dianne Poinski said...

Great post! I know I have conversations like that in my head. What I loved was how you have noticed it doesn't happen as often and you credit that to your dedication to your 100 painting challenge. Congratulations! So many things just go better when we work on our art!

sharp green pencil said...

I have to laugh. this happens to me EVERY time I even approach my desk, never mind even pick up a pencil or brush. The only way I survive is by listening to the radio and going onto auto pilot.
My sketch book is a Kilimanjaro paintbook. It has 140lb cold pressed w col paper and is interleaved with plain paper for notes. It's quite nice, but a bit bulky for carrying around and I seldom use the plain sheets. Think from Cheapjoes. nice size range. Val x

Eve said...

Oh so funny Gabrielle! Now I think I know why I may never be a painter!! I believe in you...the "good" you that is. Don't listen to the "bad" you! I think your paintings are lovely!

travelingsuep said...

ha ha I know that conversation too well. Great post.