“My 5-year-old could paint that!”

Yes! I would love to paint with that kind of joy and unselfconsciousness. 

I think that’s what Picasso meant when he said, “it took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

Today I experimented with a paintbrush duct-taped to a yardstick. And I painted with my left hand. It felt good to feel awkward and a little out of control.  I liked the looseness of the line, but it still felt a little self-conscious. Tomorrow, I’ll try it blindfolded!


How to get unstuck....

Do you have days when everything is going right, almost effortlessly? I love when that happens! Just last week, everything I put on the canvas was looking good and I was feeling great in the studio. I was being efficient, working on several pieces at a time, making good progress....I was on a roll. Such a joyful feeling!

Then all of a sudden, inexplicably, the opposite happened. Everything I did looked like crap. Colors got muddy. I scraped off areas and tried again. Bleh. No good. I ran through my mental checklist: Are my darks dark enough? Are the lights light enough? Does the eye move around? Are the shapes different and interesting? Are the brush strokes too similar? Is it too busy? 

It feels like my thought process is fine, but the hand doesn’t seem to be cooperating! Maybe I’m thinking too much. 

At times like these, sometimes it is best for me to walk away, let the paint dry and come back later, when I’m not frustrated, or negative, or too attached.

Instead of stressing about what to do next, I have found it’s more productive to just go for it. If it looks terrible, it’s ok. Ugly is part of the process. Sometimes a piece of ugly becomes a really cool part of the painting.  

I wish I had known this years ago. Used to be, when I got stuck, I would give up and just stop painting....for years at a time! Now, given my advanced age(!!) there is no time for that. 

happy ending.....

Thanks to those who sent in suggestions and comments after that last post! I don't know why they went to my FB page and not to this site (I will have to fix that)...but as a result, I didn't see them until after a few days.

In the  meantime, I didn't think anyone was even following me and, impulsive as I am,  I went and futzed with the painting before I saw your comments.

I have to hand it to you. You are very discerning...your suggestions were spot on! (I guess the problems were pretty glaring!)  I did indeed take out that distracting black shape from the bottom right and I did add some green to the left side to balance the green that was on the right side. I added more interest to the somewhat blank space on the bottom left. And I painted over a whole lot more .....here is the finished piece....


It's installed and I'm thrilled that the new owner is extremely happy with it. She said it "gave her chills" and that she was "transformed by it." Music to my ears!

But there is a plot twist. The painting did NOT end up in the dining room as originally commissioned. In fact, almost nothing about the painting went as originally planned! But, I will save that story for another day.

In the end, the painting hangs in the client's bedroom, with her beautiful new French bed linens... happily ever after....