The title of this blog may lead you to believe you will see an actual Daily Painting. I hate to disappoint you, but after struggling with my 5×7″ canvas board for most of the day, I needed to admit to myself that I’m not ready to display my work on these deceptively difficult still life paintings.
In the last two years, I’ve taken five different painting classes, and painted approximately 20 canvases of various sizes. I feel as if I should have a better handle on the material and methods of painting by now, but so many times I face a blank canvas and feel like a complete beginner. When the process doesn’t flow smoothly, my tendency is to allow negative thoughts to destroy my confidence and I begin doubting myself and my future as an artist.
I have found that this tendency is pretty common among artists, even those who have been successfully painting for years. I keep hearing from many different sources that it takes 500 paintings or 10,000 hours of painting to begin to feel confident: I thought this an exaggeration but now completely believe I’m not exempt from that “rule”…
SO, I have about 480 paintings to go. I’m an impatient person, and want to get better faster, so I need to just put my head down and do the work if I expect to be a working artist some day.
Some of the things I plan to do to combat the negativity which makes me want to give up:
- Keep communicating with other artists who have been there, made it through that
- I also find when I talk to some of the other students in my class who are struggling, it reminds me that I need to listen to encouragement I give to others: if I believe it for them, I should believe it for myself
- Re-read the artist’s block chapter in Carol Marine’s book, Daily Painting, in particular Liz Wiltzen who said: “I have learned to notice the [negative] voices, put my brush down, and ask myself, ‘What’s here right now? No judgment. Just noticing.'” This was extremely powerful for me, because there are many stages in a painting that need work (or it would be done!), and they don’t look very pretty…so I have a tendency to just want to toss it. This quote helped me realize I need to listen to the noticing voices, and keep working at it with that new information…but don’t allow it to turn into destructive negativity that halts all progress
- Remember I’m still a student, and can’t be expected to create masterpieces at this time: I need to focus on the process not the product
she wiped plenty of her canvases off after an unsuccessful session. I quickly went over and did the same to my unsatisfactory attempt, and felt much better! For me, it’s mostly about attitude and the stubbornness to keep going even though it’s not easy. If it was, everyone would do it, and I just can’t to do anything else.
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
Vincent Van Gogh