Saturday, February 01, 2014

Pushing through

 Leapfrog - SOLD
30" x 40"  oil on canvas

One of the most common issues I see with people learning to draw and paint is giving up too soon.If expectation is not met in a short period of time, boredom sets in or a feeling of "I can't do this."  The point at which that feeling is reached is usually the pivotal point for a piece of art.  The bones of the piece are in place, but the final vision can't be seen, so the maker becomes frustrated and it is easier to stop than forge ahead. Keeping the vision that inspired in the first place and knowing that it will take time and hard work to reach that vision seems to be the issue.

When I started this painting of  boats, I screwed up the initial drawing.  That could have been enough for the inner voice to say "stop", but I didn't let it.  I redrew the piece then started on the painting.  All the way through, I revised and resolved problems.  The process of creating is one of constant conversation in my head that guides my hand and eye in what to put where, what colour to choose, and whether it works for me or not.   I don't let the inner voices get to me much anymore.  I shut them down and its quite amazing how quickly they retreat when they're stood up to.  If I let them in, they'll tell me that I can't draw or paint; that I should stop because what I'm painting is rubbish and I should go take up knitting again.

The half way point in any drawing or painting is full of pain and questions.  Its meant to be.  It forces you to think through, seek the vision, resolve the problems and know that what lies ahead WILL work.

Still reading the biography of Lucien Freud, it seems none of us are alone in this journey of self doubt.  Freud used to lie on the floor and cry or have total tantrums when starting most paintings, or sometimes part way through, as they frustrated him so much.  But he kept going.  That is key.  Half way is half way - to hell or heaven.  I choose heaven.


Katherine Thomas said...

What a beautifully written, inspiring post! Thank you! I like what you said about the journey, and the voices that guide you and the voices that try to dissuade you. So true! The painting is wonderful! It's creative and original, and really invites the viewer into the scene and mood. Congratulations!

theartistsday said...

I love to see your thoughts about the way you work Jeanette.
I start each painting with such hope and enthusiasm. I can understand why Freud lay on the floor and howled. It so rare that things work out as you expect, but persistence is all.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

its that little voice in an artist's head that really needs to be silenced with duct tape sometimes :p

I don't know why but i'm not a fan of Freud, I can appreciate the work that goes into his paintings, but not something I would actively seek out in a gallery

debwardart said...

How true - it's always so easy to give up (in art and in life) when things get tough, but we actually learn more by fixing mistakes and solving problems than if it all flows smoothly. And we feel so much better with the outcome! This is a very good painting - so glad you didn't stop halfway!

Jeanette Jobson said...

Katherine I think we all go through self doubt no matter what stage of art we are in. Glad you enjoy the painting.

theartistsday, there is the enthusiasm of starting a new painting, stained with trepidation when things don't go quite as planned. Pushing those defeatist voices aside leads the way always.

Jen, oh I so agree! Duct tape indeed lol.

Freud's work is unique. What I find interesting is the story behind the paintings and what made him what he was. Whether you enjoy his work or not, it's a peek behind the scenes in life and work.

Deb, isn't it so true? We do give up too easily when things become difficult at all levels in life. I see it a lot in painting and drawing students who aren't willing to invest time and energy and want instant gratification. Time will teach the lesson.

Sue Pownall said...

A very interesting and thoughtful piece of writing.

I love this finished painting and can't see you giving up to knit :)