Have you ever experienced struggling with one or two parts of a painting? Have you tried to work on an area for a long time but your vision does not translate to your painting? Or have you felt like throwing your painting out the window, or burning it to the ground? (not literally – or?)
Well you are not alone. Most fine artists, including visual, decorative, applied artists, including those in other genre’s such as; poets, writers, composers, print making, and anyone involved in the creative arts have experienced some sort of hump, bump, block, various forms of struggle with what they are working on.
What really defines a true artist, is how they respond to the bump and deal with it. French impressionist painter, Claude Monet was known to throw his paintings to the ground and sometimes slash them with a knife, while Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, threw out and destroyed many of his paintings and drawings as well.
It takes dedication and commitment to be an artist. But there will be days when things are not going the way you would want it to be. We are human and we are not perfect. The challenge however, is how to overcome? So, what to do? I am not an expert, nor am I a therapist, so I will share what I do personally when I get to this stage.
a) Take a break – I usually either stop painting and go for tea, sometimes when I get back to my work, I see it with fresh eyes and can return to it again with vigor!
b) Take a picture – With the photo, I can see the whole painting and analyse what is working and what isn’t. I usually do not feel too bad after that and can work on the problem again.
c) Ask! Usually I rely on my spouse, a friend or a colleague – they can see things I may have missed and say something which will spark another way to approach the piece.
d) Determine what needs to be developed. Is it the values, the colour, the shape? This will help narrow the problem spot.
e) Breathe and start fresh another time
As an art teacher, I help my students, by showing them different techniques and methods of approach, much more I give encouragement and help them with their work. I can only give so much, as I cannot hold their hand and paint their work, nor does my vision translate to theirs. They, however, can rely on my support.
Overall, keep persevering, work and study, practise and practise some more.
Till the next time,