Sunday, October 13, 2013

Safe and easy

I'm not sure how it happened, but this painting, which felt more abstract in the making, actually looks less so in completion.  It was a great exercise -- I learned a lot about brushstrokes and texture -- and I'm not exactly displeased with the result. 

But it feels way too safe to me, too easy, too obvious.  And I think that's because I was painting out of my head: "Oh, you like verticals and horizontals and texture, why not do this?"  It may be a little terrifying to paint from the heart, with no preconceived notion of where the painting is going, but even if the results aren't always great, at least I'm being challenged. 

The truth is, my favorite paintings, the ones I'm proudest of, were all terrifying and frustrating to produce.  It's like concrete proof of one of Pema Chodron's life lessons: when you stay with the hard stuff instead of retreating into easy and familiar, you're more likely to find significant breakthroughs... 

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