I’ve been painting a study of the flowers that will go into the big painting I’m working on — the painting that I’m doing in emulation of Bonnard’s “Dining Room overlooking the Garden.” As often happens, though, while I’m in the process of painting a motif in a certain manner I begin thinking about other ways that I might use instead. It can lead to doubt and dissatisfaction.
So many little hindrances can crop up. For instance, I find it hard even to see the picture sometimes. I thought it was my imagination but then I take a photo and discover that the camera is also having difficulting “seeing” the painting. Oil paint when it’s wet can become shiny enough to affect your awareness of tonality. Thus parts of the picture that are dark look lighter than they should. It’s one example that I use to make a point about psychology. I’ve been painting a long time, but I still find myself affected by this distraction. Duh! I have to pinch myself as it were. “The painting will look different in a day or so after it begins to dry.”
You have to make sure that you don’t let little things knock you off course. Because the painting that I’m doing the study for is really large, I remind myself that each of the studies provides me with information that I need. And information of itself is neutral. If it were to happen that I decided I didn’t like my study, I can always paint another one. Or I can use the study, but alter it in various ways when I adapt it to the larger work.
I ask myself how much more energy I will have for this task when I learn how to banish all the negative thoughts that creep in.
I was beginning to think that the forms in the bouquet lack dimension, or that they seem loopy the way they’re painted. That’s an even more insidious idea that I must cast out of my brain. I remind myself — “HELLO, self! Remember the whole idea has been to emulate Bonnard. Loopy! It goes with the territory.”
For some crazy reason when Bonnard paints forms in a “loopy” way, I love it. Then when I do it — when I do it successfully — I feel many doubts.
This too is another bump in the road. It’s important to keep going with an idea and see where it leads. If I get critical too early in the process, I succeed in doing nothing except erecting obstacles in my own path. Clearly that makes no sense at all!
At any rate I have stayed the course. I carry on with the still life, with the studies, and I’m advancing work on the large painting by gathering this information. However, I ask myself how much more energy I will have for this task when I learn how to banish all the negative thoughts that creep in. They are unnecessary friction. Yes, I’m still “moving” but I’d move more smoothly without the friction.