These two paintings are just finished and I wonder more than ever how on earth they arrived at their final form? It remains a mystery to me especially with these two, because they started out with no idea of any subject or compositional plan but more as an experiment than anything else: it started with the idea of using my old bamboo pen, india ink and "let's see how this would work on a newly gessoed canvas" - and after the first line or two it just took off and this is the result:
I did have an idea of the colours I wanted to use but only as a basic: more warm than cool and more light than dark, but apart from that I totally let the brush chose the colours and where they had to go without relying on the "drawing" at all.
I am quite happy with the outcome and pleased with the process of relying on my subconscious mind most of the time - but with periods of conscious evaluation in between - stopping each time I felt that I seemed to dry up, and often waiting till the next morning when all of a sudden I would know what to do next. Many times that would not be quite right either, but would lead to further exploration and eventually in the right direction.
It also amazes me how my favorite outdoors areas will sneek into my work without my intent or knowledge, so that I usually do not notice it until the end; until then I have only been concerned with colours, textures and composition/structure as well as the overall feel of the piece. But I suppose that the fact that I have always been so attuned and connected to the outdoors world it will be bound to come through if you paint "who you are" as someone has said (can't remember who)!
And there is really nothing wrong with that, is there?
You bet - fortunately not nearly as much as I used to be! I suspect though, that most artists whatever their medium is, will agree that bringing your new work out to the public is scary and stressful; work you have poured your heart and soul into in the solitude of your studio, as well as battled with and dreamed about at night, so that it was all you could think about.
So there it is, and you know very well that it isn't perfect, but at this point it is the best you can do - and now you wonder if the viewers will be at all interested in it, understand it and/or like it; will it speak to them at all? Or will they judge it (and thereby you) harshly or even worse: be completely uninterested and just ignore it as of no importance at all?
I think that many artists will recognize this scenario: You have a new show and all the work is up and displayed to the best of your ability, invitations are out, you are all dressed up and the Opening Reception is to-night ------------and you are shaking with fear that no-one will show up at all! I think that it has something to do with stage fright and I have heard that even top performers such as actors and musicians can suffer terribly from it to the point, where it is almost paralysing and will cause some to stop performing altogether -------- but it can also spur you on to do your best work.
I don't think that it ever disappears even if it does get better so that you develop a thicker skin and realize that whether other people like it or not does not change good work and is not the most important thing - and that for everyone who loves your work there will be one who doesn't - and that it is OK! We are all different with different backgrounds and tastes, and it would be pretty boring if it weren't the case so that everybody liked the same things.
So why am I thinking about this now? I have just shipped the above six paintings off to their new owner in Denmark; she has only seen them online and I am beating myself up with worry that she may be in anyway disappointed with the real thing. I hope not, personally I think that the original will always be better - a photo will never catch all the subtleties of colour or texture - and different computer screens show colours differently. I hope that she will be pleased and that they will arrive safely - I should know sometime next week.