Slow Gut Acceptance

I’ve been working on a few different projects the past few days, but as always, I feel like I’m getting nothing done. Despite this, I have learned a few things. It’s just a matter of accepting them now. Like how slow and methodical I am. I realized that this isn’t necessarily bad, and I don’t exactly move at a snail’s pace at everything.

For instance, I’ve been working on my friend, Elizabeth Hoffman’s website for a while (which I finally finished). It’s not that it has been taking me a long time. I’ve had to wait for her to send me various images and info, etc. Creating the actual site has been fast. I’m lightning fast at these sorts of things, especially editing images in Photoshop and whatnot. Pretty much anything on the computer is pretty easy for me.

I did a small watercolor over the weekend, and have a couple of oil paintings drawn out too.

And I don’t know why I thought being “slow” at art was such a bad thing all this time, or for the past while, especially since I’d made a conscious decision to slow it down some years back. I wanted my process to be more purposeful and meditative. Before that, I was kinda missing out on the joy of the process. I don’t anymore. I like slowing down and thinking about my decisions and looking at what each painting needs.

That, I can accept. It’s not a marathon or a contest. It’s just how I work.

Then, I’ve been doing a collaborative project with artist Niki Ford. Jeez, am I learning a lot from this process! We both have very different ways of working. They are spontaneously faster in their decision-making. I think we are both intuitive, but I am slower and more methodical, in comparison. I do feel like I am holding them up a little, but that might just be my own hang-up.

I’ve been working on a larger gouache, and I learned a couple of things about myself. In fact, while I’ve been working with them, I keep learning things, which has been the best thing about this project. But I noticed that I veered off in the wrong direction recently after thinking about this painting too much, and completely ignoring my gut. I zoomed past the point where I was happy with it and started adding things I thought should be there, or what I thought Niki wanted me to do, even though they never specified these things. It made no sense.

It’s called mind-reading, and in reality, no one can do that. It’s a dangerous path into self-doubt. In the back of my mind, I already know this, but I fell off my horse anyway. My horse ran off, and I wandered alone into the forest of stupidity. I wound up adding odd, superfluous elements to a perfectly good painting. Now there’s no undoing it.

I tried to salvage it a bit, but it’s not exactly possible. It’s because of the way the paint was applied. It’s too bad because I really liked it too. Before, that is.

I do hate “wasting” my time. I know, I probably shouldn’t look at it that way. It’s all a learning experience, but I spent a long time on it, using little brushes, looking at it for hours, and carefully making everything just so. It sure feels like I wasted my time, so it gets me down and makes me feel deflated. Exhausted. Yet, I did learn valuable things, so it’s not totally “wasted” time, I guess. This, I need to accept.

At least I learned (for the millionth time) to trust my gut, and perhaps “compromising” doesn’t work for me. What I mean by that is that I don’t have to change my instincts, knowingness, style, or gut based on what I think someone else may or may not want from me. I can still meet them, and collaborate with them (or another artist), without compromising my integrity to myself.

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