On Painting

Paint like a fiend when the idea possesses you.  - Robert Henri

I've always wanted to be a painter.  In art school, I focused on scientific illustration and printmaking.  However, I always envied the painting majors; they seemed to be the most free-spirited and imaginative of all the art students.  I took both beginning and intermediate painting in college, but I never considered myself to be very good.  I couldn't quite let go my perfectionism and self-criticism enough to allow myself to explore the medium fully.

Painting can be like a roller-coaster ride. For me, it begins with great anticipation and excitement, followed by hills one must chug up with effort, and valleys to glide down into with ease. The grand finale is the final decisive details that make the painting sing - it is like the ultimate grand hill that thrills you and spirits you to the end of the ride.  - Anne Hudec

 My painting "moods" come and go.  Sometimes, as now, I am filled with energy, inspiration, and confidence.  I attack canvas after canvas and take the mistakes in stride, unafraid to simply gesso over failures and then keep going.  I feel different when painting than when I am art journaling or cartooning or sewing.  There is an electricity in the air.  I feel as if I am walking a tightrope and to stay on the rope, I need to focus on the paint strokes.  In my eagerness and intensity, I get very physically close to my paintings and have to force myself to take breaks and evaluate my work from a distance.  It is as if I am being drawn into the canvas, into the little world I am creating.  It is magical and frightening at the same time.

My eyes make little paths for my brush to dance on... She dances like no one is watching. It is freedom. It is pure love.  - Melissa Jean
I feel closer to my paintings than my journals, even though I pour my heart and soul into both.  Art journaling comes relatively easy; painting is full of sweat and tears and angst. Perhaps that's why I don't find myself "in the mood" for painting very often.  Painting touches upon tender spots that most of the time, I'd rather not poke.  However, when I am suddenly overwhelmed by bravery, I pick up a brush and begin.  I know not how long the impulse will last.  That's OK because in painting there is only the moment. 


iHanna said…
How cool that you went to art school, and knew what you wanted then already & still love to paint. You dont think it would become easier if you did it MORE?
JShelby said…
that is exactly how I feel about writing. A blog on the every day, but the real passion, when it seizes me, is fiction - a story. And like painting for you, a fiend. Love this post!
Unknown said…
Thank you for sharing this! I love that you have found your passion and the fact that you struggle at times is so encouraging to me. I hope that you find the courage to paint often and with abandon!