Continual Improvement?


Twilight Ponds, Studio oil, 12″ x 24″

When I was mid-way through painting this piece (above), I found that stage of the process where I thought it was the best thing I’d ever done. I was so thrilled with myself! Ha! It’s just that the sky came off so easily. I was happy with it, knowing that I was going to let it dry and then do a final orange/yellow glaze over it to get the glow right.

Mid-way through painting the land, I once again thought I was the bees knees! Man, I can paint. How did this happen?

And then the stage of disillusionment arrived. The foreground had to be reworked several times – moving through detail to more abstract strokes and back again. And again. The piece finally did not meet my own expectations because guess what – they changed along the way!

There is the point where you just need to let the painting be. It’s done. No amount of re-work will bring it back to that illusion of grandeur point. Because you know what? It is an illusion.

Every stroke, phase, piece, is another step in the process of being an artist. There are moments of self-delusion, recognition of some growth, the joy of creating and the pleasure and pain of learning. Some pieces meet my expectations, some do so only at points along the way and others simply do not.

Mist, Studio oil, 8″ x 10″

And that’s okay. I’ve been trying to practice every day this month, since having such a long time away from the easel. I am undertaking at least some kind of activity in the studio every day – if only prepping a board for the next piece after work or completing a small wet-on-wet study. Practice, practice, practice!

Drawing the design for a new snowy creek piece.


2 thoughts on “Continual Improvement?

  1. Yes! So many times I’ve been writing a poem thinking it was so wonderful and how great it felt to see its possibility coming into existence only to overwork it, to be unable to see beyond myself to notice when it was ripe, so I just kept plowing on overdoing it until it started to rot. Then into the compost pile it went, along with a little bit of my own ego. Anyway, Faye, I really like Twilight Ponds and am enjoying—and finding useful—your musings on process.


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