Thursday, November 7, 2013

Getting Back On The Horse or Facing Easel Anxiety

"Tribute To Glory", 12x12 inch oil on canvas

Do you know that old saying about how you need to climb right back on the horse after falling off? Well, the same is true for artists after an extended period of not creating. 

The truth is that I haven’t done much artwork over the past ten years or so for various reasons, and that has taken a toll on my self confidence and creative abilities. Fear of failure blocks me so often when I even THINK about going in the studio to work on a painting that too often I turn around and leave or find something “urgent” to do instead. There are currently six unfinished paintings on the studio wall that have all been there for a year or more. Most of them I haven’t touched in over a year. 

Well, I finally had to face the truth that the only way to polish up my rusty skills and improve my art was to actually DO it, no matter the outcome. Reading all sorts of articles, going to workshops and listening to podcasts just isn’t going to get me anywhere but more discouraged and bogged down. 

So, I’m committing to putting artwork at the top of my priority list, right after healthy activities and riding. The housework will just have to suffer a little while longer. It’s never been at the top of my list anyway.

To start with, I've committed myself to finishing a couple of paintings before starting anything new although my brain is overflowing with painting ideas that are calling out. First up on the easel is “Tribute To Glory” because it is the closest painting to being done. 

One of the down aspects of not working on a painting for months at a time is that you lose momentum with it and you forget how you were going about it. Even though I’d written notes on what colors I used to mix the horse color and the background color, I still had to mix a lot of paint before I found the mixes that matched well enough with what was already on the canvas. 

The other issue that’s come up for me is wanting to work in another style but being unable to switch horses in midstream, so to speak, on one painting. That will never do, unless I want to start all over again. Nope! 

So here is the latest progress on “Glory”. I’m working in thin layers of paint on a stretched canvas in oils. You can see where I left off just under the jawbone on the neck. Naturally, the next session will involve some tweaking before continuing down the neck. 

That in itself gets to be discouraging. It seems as if I paint paint paint then correct correct correct, then paint some more and correct some more. I suppose that’s true for a lot of artists, but I do wish that I could get it right the first time most of the time, anyway. 

This image is a bit contrasty and the color is a bit off, but maybe next time the sun will be out and I’ll have a better version for you to see. 

That’s all for today. Thank you for taking the time to visit and read and look. I hope you enjoy. 


Judith A. Johnson said...

Keep on keepin' on

Carole Rodrigue said...

Glory is looking great and I have a feeling you'll soon be back in the swing of things and doing great stuff. :-)

Karen Thumm said...

Thank you, gals. I will definitely keep at it.

Michelle Grant said...

reward yourself with starting a new piece, between the 'finishing' of old pieces. And be sure to have a critical eye when looking at the pieces you think you have to they really need to be finished? or burned!

Trust me, I've been in a painting funk for two years!!!

Be true to YOURSELF!!

We'll have to talk soon!!

Michelle Grant said...

don't be afraid to throw out the 'old' paintings Karen.

if you need to start a new one, go for it!

trust me, i've been in a painting funk for two years now. it is a real struggle to face the dreaded easel.

i found that timing myself for 30 minute increments of painting or creating worked great! by resetting the timer over and over again, i found i had painted for a couple of hours before i got tired!

Karen Thumm said...

Thanks, Michelle. Good comments! I would love to talk soon. It's been ages and ages.

Cindy Schnackel said...

Great topic. The artist's block as a topic will never get old, because as long as we're here on this Earth there will be periodic blocks. They can be agony. I'm glad you're finding ways to break out of it. Beautiful horse portrait!

Karen Thumm said...

Thank you, Cindy.