Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mental Adjustments

Pink Side of the Road, 2008, Oil on Birch Panel, 16x20

I just wrote a whole thing about what a funk I have been in lately, blah, blah, blah. I realized that I have spent yet another day doing nothing in my studio and I am feeling disappointed in my lack of progress in the studio. Of course today I had a good excuse (snow day, kids home) but it seems like I am always making excuses.

Usually I prefer to beat myself up for not doing what I think I should be doing each day but I am giving myself a rare break from that tonight. So I deleted what I wrote (too depressing, even for me at this time of the day when I can be very pessimistic about everything) and will just try to work in the studio again tomorrow.

I should remember the story about the above painting: I did the underpainting for it (and the one I posted on Monday) last spring, way before I moved up into my new studio, before painting the walls, planting the garden and preparing small format paintings for a July show. I finally got back to the underpaintings in November and added the color, even though I had completely forgotten what I had had in mind for them when I started. But I love them, and maybe they turned out better than they might have if I had finished them right away.

I gave those two pieces very little thought all that time, but instead of bang, bang, banging them out, there was time and other experiences between the start and finish line. And now that I think about it, that is how I have been approaching the portraits too. Much more slowly, with time in between each step, but not a lot of consideration either.

Hmmm. Perhaps I need to reconsider my process just a bit, rather than giving myself a hard time about not painting like I used to, such a hard time that I can't even work at all.


Natalya said...

someone just told me recently - rule #1 is be gentle on yourself...

Kim Hambric said...

There is something so oppressive about this time of year. Perhaps the lack of light, the extra weight from holiday eating, the weather, the post-holiday depression, etc., etc., etc. I had a few unkind words with myself the other day. Really bad, nasty words. Then I told myself to shut up. I kind of helped to tell myself to shut up OUT LOUD. Then I really wanted to hit myself, but that would be going just a bit too far.

I've read so many blogs where artists have listed their accomplishments of 2008 and have an ongoing list of spectacular things they will accomplish in 2009.

My mantra for 2009 will be "keep going". It sounds nice, borderline enthusiastic and quite non-committal.

You've got to take care of yourself before you can take on the world. Besides, January will end eventually.

Melody said...

I had such great intentions for the beginning of the year about how I was going to be "more disciplined". Got sick last week and now I'm finding it hard to jump back on the bandwagon. At least the chocolate thing seems under control.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Well if it's any consolation my "draft the blog post at night and edit/post it in the morning" isn't working very well either - but that's partly because I'm getting a lot of artwork done at night!

I really think you're just going through a process of transition where the process of change is just making things feel a tad uncomfortable.

You don't want to stay where you've been and you don't quite know for sure what it feels like where you're going

But I think, by the sound of what you're saying, that the end of this particular leg of the journey if just around the corner.......... :)

Angela Wales Rockett said...

Beautiful, glowing image. Your paintings are like curling up in front of a cozy fire.

Why is it so hard to keep that fine balance between motivating ourselves and just plain beating up on ourselves?

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

Devastatingly GORGEOUS, magic painting, Tracy. (:

James Wolanin said...

Less thinking and more working! : )

Greetings from VSC!

Shanster said...

yeah - so easy to get down on ourselves. We are usually our own worst enemies/critics/ sabatageurs. (sp?)

To me, it sounds like you pretty much kick ass.

Tho easier said than done to be nicer to ourselves!

I too have been in a big ol' funk... not fun. I'm chalking it up to winter too.

Katherine said...

Wonderful painting - and I love how it relates to your post - reminds me of that Billie Holiday song "Sunny Side of the Street".

Robin Maria Pedrero said...

My favorite time of the day! I adore how you illuminated in pink!

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