Every artist has them. The days when what we intend to happen at the easel just doesn't. Not because of the phone ringing or children who can't be hypnotized by the television. But because our muse isn't present. (Which reminds me, one of my all time favorite TED Talks by Elizabeth Gilbert is a must-hear for all you creatives).
I tell my students for every painting they see on gallery walls, to visualize at least 10 others in the trash. Because that is my reality. And it was especially apparent today.
My idea: a tender little painting of a calf and her mother, off in the distance of a vast field.
Doesn't sound like rocket science, does it?
So the underpainting got carefully painted, with warm, bold colors in the foreground, a fantastic yellow chosen to perfectly compliment the dark blue in the cows' bodies and a lovely pale blue bit for the furthest distance. I envisioned the cows as tiny little forms, perhaps a 1/3 of the width of this panel, in the upper left.
So I started to sketch them in, and it's all wrong. The calf was a long-legged rat and the mother looked equine. I wiped it out (the lavender streak below is a remnant) and tried again. And again, a mess. And a third time, no go. I kept working and redrawing and refining, and the cows were creeping closer and closer to the picture plane.
My subconscious wanted these cows big, and I kept forcing them to be teeny. Clearly I was losing the battle, so I surrendered.
I put music on LOUDLY and stopped second guessing - I let my muse take over and do her thing.
And look what started to show itself!
After a few hours at the easel, a totally different version than what was initially intended came about. It's far more colorful than I ever envisioned, and embodies tenderness despite the mass of the momma cow (or perhaps because of her mass?).
And I liked the lavender reminder of my mistakes and frustration so much, that I left it there.
This one is a true Lesson Painting.
With a resolution to come tomorrow.
"Ole!!" (seriously, listen to Elizabeth Gilbert)
Thanks so much for sharing my art with your friends and family,
You seriously don't know about TED conferences and TED talks?
Visit TED.com and take a look around.
No matter the subject, there's a fascinating talk presented by an expert (or at the very least, a highly entertaining wanna-be).
Here's a few of my favorites:
Seth Godin (this is one of MANY of his talks, all worthwhile)
Tell me what TED talks you fall in love with.