I often reach a point in a painting where I really love something about it, even though I don’t love it as a whole and I know it’s not finished. I get kind of panicky at this point, because I’m afraid that if I work on the painting too much more, I’ll ruin whatever it is that I love about it.
Take this demo done by another artist, for example. I like several of the early drafts of his work – how did he know to keep going? Perhaps because he had a clear image of the goal, perhaps because he was following a certain technique. I’m still experimenting with my techniques, and don’t know what my finished paintings will look like when I start them. This painting has gone through many iterations already to get to where it is now.
Realism isn’t the goal, although I do strive to make my subjects recognizable. I like it when paintings are a little rough around the edges, and I try to resist over-polishing my works. But I also don’t want to quit before they’re really done.
What I probably need to do is learn to get over it. Just plow ahead, and not be so afraid of ruining a half-finished painting. I can learn from mistakes. To take away this feeling of ‘preciousness’ that I start to associate with my works, I should start making more of them. Work on multiple canvases simultaneously, and hold myself to more of a schedule. It’s too easy to put painting on the back burner when things get busy around here.
I’m going to be traveling for most of the next two weeks, but when I come back I will start a new painting schedule. Start at least one new painting each week. Also, at least one new art blog post per week, to help me reflect on my progress.