Monday, February 17, 2014


I came here this morning with every intention of writing about how frustrated I've been with my painting lately. I've hated the last 5 or six paintings I've done, so I keep painting over them and starting new ones in hopes of getting "back in the groove."

So I went up to my studio and photographed this one, yesterday's failed attempt, intending to use it as an example. You need to remember that I'm new to this, so I'm still trying to expand my repertoire of colors, brush strokes and styles; it feels like my own collection of painting tricks is too narrow a cage. But when I attempt to expand it feels very "not-me" and I get discouraged. This painting, I thought -- though I liked elements of it -- was a perfect example of that.

But when I pulled it up on my computer after photographing it I confess I was utterly astonished at how clearly it spoke to me -- both about the time I've been immersed in the Gospel of Thomas lately, preparing for my speech yesterday, and about the reading I've been doing in Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism and Cynthia Bourgeault's latest book on the Trinity. And let me assure you -- I was thinking of NONE of those things when I was struggling with it yesterday. I really thought I'd wake up this morning and start painting over it. Again.

Surprisingly enough, I actually like it now.  It's rather like a reassuring friend, and SO vividly depicts the struggles of the week that I won't even bother to interpret it to you: I suspect that to explain would be a bit like dissecting a poem, and would feel like overkill.  Suffice it to say -- it's okay.  I'm not going to add a thing.  But it's also a great illustration of this quote I was given once in a pastel class:

"The drive to explore, search and grow has to be greater than the pain of failure or fear of others' judgment." (from Dan McCaw's A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art).

I'm so glad I kept going.

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