Are you a perfectionist? I USED to be...or so I thought. I realise I still am... I experienced an "artist's block" from about Thanksgiving to the New Year. I couldn't shake this gremlin sitting on my shoulder telling me that everything I created was NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
That voice would shout loud and clear as I approached the easel, picked up my sketchbook or even glanced at the unfinished works sitting at my workstation! I was in the DOLDRUMS!
"Teddy" acrylic on masonite 8X10 in. Private Collection
To my dismay, this creeping gremlin showed up when I was working on TWO commissions. I was working on a portrait of Teddy (from Arion Farms...he's my favourite!) and a poppy painting for a Texas friend. Poor Teddy languished on my easel along with a field of unfinished poppies ! How did I get through it all??
Well, once I got through with the moping :-), I shouted to myself ENOUGH! AND I rolled up my sleeves and went back the the beginning. It was this small sketch of Teddy that helped me.
"Sketch of Teddy" acrylic on canvas panel 5X7 in. Private Collection
I don't want to say that taking commissions created the block...I really think I was on my way to a block...now that I look back. There certainly is more pressure to create that perfect painting for someone else...the work is not just about ME anymore!
One big change that I will pursue is one that I've heard other professional artists suggest about commissions:
Paint 2-3 variations of that commission. This can be done in different ways...small sketches (sort of what I did with Teddy) or 2-3 larger pieces of the same theme or request. Then the collector can choose. This concept of choice leaves the "critiquing" to the collector not to the perfectionist gremlin!
It's like practising a piece of music. I need to play things over a few times (well in music for me LOTS of times!) until I learn to interpret and connect with that song. I can apply this to my paintings.
Angie and Michelle...thanks for your patience while I worked through all of that.
"Angie's Poppies" acrylic on Gallery wrapped canvas 16X20 in. Private Collection
BTW, this weekend Castanet News
posted a new video for Arion Farms
and guess who the Star is? Teddy! and his great owners! Take a look!
"Yellow Rose Up Close" acrylic on masonite 6x6 in. $60.