Tuesday, February 24, 2009
...is a very effective paralysing agent. I have been in the studio fairly regularly, but haven't painted since before Christmas, and the reason was... fear. I began a painting six months or so ago, and was unhappy with it, so, after living with it for a while, to see what it wanted to say, I added some background colour. And it sat there, not finished, but not bad enough to scrap, and I have been afraid to touch it. Afraid is a strong word, but it is correct nonetheless. I knew that it needed something, but I didn't know what it was, and I was afraid that if I did something to it, I would ruin it. In any case, I didn't know if it was a good painting, or not. I was afraid that it wasn't. Those fears, compounded, had me frozen. On Saturday, though, I defrosted myself. I reminded myself that there is no right, and no wrong, in making a decision, whether it is about art, business or anything else you might care to mention. We have choices, and the way to make a decision is to establish what choices you have, and , accepting the likely outcomes of each one for good or ill, select one. Then, all you have to do is do whatever it is you have chosen to do.
In the case of this painting, made in oils, it was a coating of an interesting dark turquoise colour. That, and turning the image round from where I had it, which changed the meaning in my head. I had made the piece to reflect how I felt at the time I painted it, and called it 'Blue'; the first image shows a section of the original painting, during the addition of the turquoise. Suddenly, this piece was another 'Inner Landscape', called 'Under The Surface', and the second image shows the completed piece. Since taking that original photograph, I have removed some of the turquoise, to allow stronger flashes of colour to show through, and will take another photograph of it in better light when it is finished(the light on Saturday was not good...).
It may not be the best painting in the world; it may not be the best painting I've ever made, come to think of it. But it expresses something (in fact, it expresses more than I had originally intended), and I like it. Better still, I want to paint some more, and have more ideas; I was beginning to think I might never paint again . I'm very glad I was wrong! So, if you are stuck as I was, ask yourself, what are you afraid of? Consider your choices, select one and do the work. That's all it takes. It's just a pity we forget that so regularly. When I coach people, it's one of the things I help them to do, to make choices, and live with the consequences. Usually those consequences are relatively small, on the scale of things, a finished painting, an idea turned into reality, a letter written. Everything is easier with a bit of help... and sometimes you need someone else's input to get moving. But either way, ask yourself, what's the worst thing that could possibly happen, for each of the options. Usually the worst possible outcomes are no worse than the feeling you have of being stuck, in my experience. So what do you have to lose? Go make a choice, or two. Why not start now?