Monday, February 16, 2015


"Toss," 24 x 24 oil on where I did stop at the underpainting!
Friend and artist extraordinaire, Jen Trottier, just posted a work in progress on Facebook (check out her Instagram account to see other WIPs).  It's very cool, but it's one of the comments (by another friend, photographer Juliet Harrison!) that inspired this post.  Basically, Juliet said she liked the painting as is. Had to "like" that comment, because I don't know how many times I've had a work in progress in the underpainting stage, and thought, "Wow, I really like it right there, I wish I could just stop now, and call it done."

So...why don't I?  I think as artists, at least as somewhat established artists, we have this thing hanging over our heads called "expectation."  We think if we don't do things a certain way – in our usual style, which our followers and collectors have come to expect – we'll lose our audience.  No one wants to disappoint the people who have come to appreciate our work, right?  So we push on, put out more of the same to get the positive comments.  Every now I'll share something different, and that internet silence, as I like to call it, is a killer.  I know I'm not the only artist who has contemplated coming up with an alter ego and letting that persona do whatever that one oneself as a completely different artist, and not telling anyone.  I know of artists who have gone ahead and done just that.  I've given it serious thought!

I liked this one at this stage...but "finished" it. 
Expectation can be a real aggravation. I can run another parallel to riding with it.  I had the most brilliant lesson on Leo the week before last - it's the one where we ended up cantering that X, in the video I posted.  All riders know that feeling you get with an awesome ride.  I couldn't wait to ride him again the next day! And guess what?  He was a complete idiot.  Completely distracted, nothing was coming together.  Part way through the ride, I gave myself the proverbial smack upside the head and realized I'd gone into that ride with a certain expectation, and I was really disappointed as a result.  It was a good reminder that in the grand scheme of things, Leo is doing great, but he's still very green.  He's still going to have those days, and I just have to use those days to ride the horse I have at the moment, and help us both learn and improve.  Since then, with both Leo and Gracie, I've tried to go into my rides without having a real agenda.  And you know what?  I think all three of us are much happier for it.  ;-)

So, can I apply the same to my art?  It's much harder for me to start a painting without some sort of expectation as to where I want it to end up.  Can I give myself permission to decide to stop and sign it, if I have one of those "I like it just the way it is now" moments?  Maybe.  I'll work on it.

1 comment:

Elizabeth McCrindle said...

Good post, a problem I suffer from often. That and how to get one out of my head and on to a canvas :D