Sometimes a painting doesn't need to be planned out or sketched out first. Sometimes a painting doesn't need to be imagined before it's laid out on canvas. Sometimes a painting doesn't need a beginning or an end; no resolve, just a feeling of movement portraying the creating process.
As I've walked the never-ending path of being an artist, I've learned many valuable tips and techniques through both guidance and failure. One of these tips revolves around self doubt and self confidence. Many artists, possibly every artist, and possibly even you reading this struggles with self doubt. You're sitting and waiting for what feels like hours to be called up front to give a presentation. All you can think about is "What if I blank?", "What if people judge the way I talk?". You're behind the easel, brush in hand, and all you can think is "What if this doesn't come out the way I want it to?", "What if no one likes what I create?", What If?
This is a struggle I have dealt with for as long as I can remember. I was never the person to volunteer to stand up in front of the class, or the person to lead a meeting. As I progressed as an artist the self doubt of speaking and the self doubt of painting began to intertwine. You can't succeed as an artist if you go down the path only thinking about failing. You can't succeed in anything if you don't leap from that bubble of negativity and put yourself in scenarios that force you to show confidence, even if you fail. I never wanted to go out and present my art to the public, I compared myself to other artists and always said "I'm not good enough for that". When I jumped into my first year of presenting work at art festivals I didn't want to wear the "Artist" badge that they handed out because I didn't want to stand out. But as I continued throwing myself into these uncomfortable scenarios - speaking in front of an audience at galleries, describing my work and myself to people interested - I realized that when I suppress the negative thoughts and show confidence in what I've worked years to create, viewers feed off of that energy and see artwork in a whole different light. Holding back self doubt also puts a different energy on the creative process. Each painting I have created has come to life with the emotion and energy that I put into them. When you learn to let energy move a piece rather than fighting against the energy, you allow the painting to complete itself.
There is a painting that I have been working on for weeks now that feels like no matter how much work I put into it, it will never be complete. The painting is part of my Iconic Rhode Island series. A large 36x36 canvas that stares at me incomplete as I slowly work at it more and more. I find myself getting frustrated as I work on this painting and begin to feel negativity towards it, which only makes the process more tedious and stressful. When I get to this point I have trained myself to put the painting aside. In the past I have tried to fight through this stress just to finish a painting and that finished painting 100% of the time would reflect that my heart was not in it. I decided last night, to take that pent up stress and frustration and let it out on a new large canvas; no thinking, no planning, just taking paint and putting it somewhere on the canvas. Pure emotion was put into each layer as the painting began to come to life. I've been asked many times how I know when a painting is finished, to which I respond a painting, especially an abstract painting, is never really finished, there is no end, but when the movement and emotion that you put into the piece is reflected back at you; that's when a painting feels complete.
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