Not every day in the studio leaves me feeling elated. Some days, things don’t work out the way I wish they would – colours refuse to mix to my satisfaction…I can’t seem to draw worth a heck….the phone keeps ringing and somehow, I just can’t get that “rush” that I love so much. When those days go back to back, it can be downright debilitating and eventually leads to a painter’s “block” for me.
Earlier, I was thrilled when my friend Rose came to visit from California and we had made a “painting date”. Her visit was short and we had one day to get out painting together. (Woot woot!) On the heels of all the plein air inspiration and good work done in Haida Gwaii, I was eager to get out and paint locally and with some top notch painterly company and conversation. Well…the gremlins stepped in and nothing seemed to click for me as we sat in front of Rundle Mountain, Sulphur Mountain and Vermillion Lakes in Banff. The light was quite flat, so a challenge to find something interesting. In the end, I came out with a nice little painting of Rundle – recognizable but without that “zing” or that thrill that I usually get when working outdoors. Epic fail, as my kids would say. They actually quite love days when I come home with “Epic Fails”. Once, I even let them paint over top of an “Epic Fail”….I think they actually made it look better. I’d post a photo of it…but I’ve honestly lost it somewhere in the studio. (I think it might have been on purpose.) If I find it…I’ll post it. (ick)
A few more Epic Fails occurred this week. I’ve been working away on this piece but have been unhappy about a few compositional aspects, so dove in with the paintbrush. I think I might have messed it up more than I had in the first place, so that sure has got me down. Two setbacks like that were enough to move me off working on other pieces that I’ve started and I literally had to go back to the drawing board to get some confidence in my work again. I started with the sketchpad and worked on this preliminary study for a client’s commission piece:
That….at least made me feel a little better, and led me to work on a second sketch the next night – that one is at the top of this post.
Sometimes you hit it on the nail. This one, I’m very happy with…so far. I received some new brushes from Rosemary & Co. in England, and I do love them. I’m not saying it’s the brushes that helped, but sometimes having a new “toy” to play with is enough to shift you out of the doldrums of failed paintings and keep you moving forward.
I still have a fair amount of work to do on the edges and blending, but I’m pleased with it. Next week could find me in the spiralling, repeating pattern of Triumphant Wins and Epic Losses.
I’d bet on it….and I’d never trade it for the world.