I’ve been doing too much thinking, as usual. Since I have yet to do much of anything artwise, that’s what I do. It’s the nature of the beast.
The subject I wrestle with the most is, you guessed it, art. Specifically, it’s been about the new series I’ve been working on (Discarded Snapshots), even though I’m only three or four paintings into it. The end results of the works have yet to turn out exactly how I intended.
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve debated whether I should return to them, make the changes I’d prefer, or move on and keep trying to get them right as I go forward with newer ones. Being in a state of indecision is the worst.
I originally intended these paintings to be rendered more sloppily or impressionistically. I wanted them to look kinda fucked up. They do, but enough to my liking. To me, they look like I was trying to render them realistically, and I just don’t know how to paint.
However, I consider them compelling. Interesting in their own way as they are. I’m not sure if I should touch them. I wonder if I should just leave them be. But then I think, “is that because I’m scared to mess them up? Is attempting to fix them fear-based?” And I don’t particularly play by those rules. I like to face fear when it comes to artmaking.
As you can see, this is a bit of a dilemma.
I can single out a painting where I did go back and make changes. It is now one of my favorite paintings. I’m Here for the Party, which is what I mean by how I want to paint the new series. If that was a success, why not try that again?
I think I’m pretty happy with the first one of my mom on the couch. Her face and body are pretty screwy—the way I like it. I have doubts about Disorderly Conduct and the last completed piece. Maybe I just need to live with them a little longer.
The one I’m working on now is a three-panel piece of my great-grandmother (and a portion of my mother) celebrating my brother’s birthday. They are on birch panels. I’ve already done my grandma’s face and hands, and it’s neither good nor bad. Again, it’s right in the middle. Why do I keep doing that? Why can’t I loosen up when I want to? I must be too tightly wound.
She always wore very dark sunglasses, even indoors. She had problems with her eyes due to diabetes. She died of complications of the disease. I truly loved her.
I plan to make her hair kinda kooky, and play with making her sunglasses crooked. My mom’s face is going to be scratched out, and I want to make my brother’s face cartoonish. I’m hoping I can pull it off the way I want.
Depending on how this one turns out, maybe I can go back and make a decision about the last two.
In the meantime, I did decide to give myself a break. Not necessarily a break from painting, but cutting myself some slack for hardly working. I have to listen to my body, and it mostly wants to rest. I have to think about all the hard work I’ve put in during my lifetime. It’s been a lot. I’m not twenty anymore. I’m not even thirty or forty. I’m getting a little tired, and I do have an autoimmune disorder that I very often ignore. I haven’t been taking care of myself. I never really have. It’s time.
That doesn’t mean I now rest guilt-free. My drums sit there and I feel terrible for not playing them. Paintings are sitting there unfinished. My to-do list keeps getting longer. And I feel guilty, pressured, and stressed—all self-inflicted. I know where it comes from, and I’m working on it. It’s a process.