Thursday, June 9, 2011

Curing What Ails Me

Cowboy study, oil on paper, about 12x12

Oh man, I've been in the worst painting slump of my life.  For some reason, it's like I forgot how to paint, and everything I've started lately has been scraped down, or thrown away in a fit of despair.

Yes, despair. That's  the correct adjective for how I feel.  I tell myself  that my standards have gone up and that's why I am not happy with anything I do, but honestly,   what's coming off my brush is just pretty awful.

So why am I posting this painting. It's obviously not a finished work, or anything particularly special.  Well, I am posting it because:
1.  I haven't posted anything in so long it seemed like I should try to get something out there.
2.  This was an attempt to just have fun painting, with no goal other than to.. have fun.
3.  I did have fun with it.

On the advise of a friend, and because i know it to be true, I put away all "serious" painting, and picked something I like, set a short time goal (this was about an hour and a half), found a scrap of cheap canvas paper (REALLY no pressure because it was even a USED piece of cheap canvas paper), picked up ONE brush, and went to work.    No drawing, I just sort of blocked in the basic shape of the cowboy and horse, and then did as much negative painting as anything, painting background into anything that wasn't horse or rider.

I do like painting horses, and so if I need to get back into my comfort zone,  this is a good subject for me.

Moral of the story?  If you're struggling these days, painting something that either just appeals to you for whatever reason, or painting something that you KNOW you can paint easily, is a good place to start.  No pressure.
Sometimes its good to just finish something, even if it isn't world class art .  Doing so might unblock the creative flow.   Or it might just give you a break from the feeling of "failure".   I might not be out of my slump, but I was smiling today with a paintbrush in my hand, and that hasn't happened for awhile.  

Hmmm... I wonder what other cowboy photo references I have on file?