Beginning a new piece of work is like starting out on a long journey. A mixture of emotions descend as I finally start putting my idea onto paper or canvas including excitement, impatience and a small sprinkling of apprehension because this is the image my mind has been working on for days, if not weeks, before it makes its inevitable pilgrimage out into the real world.
When an artist starts a piece of work, its like suddenley divulging the deepest fathoms of their soul, their most cherished secrets, their most intimate imaginings. All of a sudden, people are going to be able to see your ideas. For some this can be a huge step to take, alot of us, me included have at some time or another become a victim to the power of the ‘blank canvas syndrome’.
We question whether we have the ability, we can often stop ourselves before we have even begun by picturing the finished piece hanging in a gallery on a pristine white wall in a beautiful frame, and the sheer enormity of this responsibility sends us scurrying away to clean out all the kitchen cupboards, because thats much more necessary and important than making a huge imagined mess on a canvas. (and all this before we’ve even took out a pencil). It all comes down to being afraid of failure, but if we dont set ourselves up with high expectations at the start, then how can we possibly fail?
Its so important to feel loose about creating, about starting a painting or piece of art. The more work I do, the more I realise that it has to be about truth and meaning, its definately not about where it ends up or whether its going to be a masterpiece – its more importantly about releasing an idea that has been nurtured by your soul, has been tossed about on a sea in your dreams until there is no other place for it but out in the open. As an artist you may be familiar with this feeling, it becomes an urge and at that moment you have to make a promise to yourself to begin this piece, and you have to promise not to attach any outcome to it other than the journeying through the creation of it, from start to finish.
So thats a bit about starting your art work.
Knowing when to finish is another thing altogether 🙂
A painting suddenley starts to reach a point where its coming together, you are no longer working on adding big patches of colour but blending together finer details and adding bits of mixed media etc. Its from this point that a clear awareness descends, I am taking strong notice of where the picture is going and the marks I am making are done more conciously than in the beginning. Its very important to pay attention now because its easy to overwork a painting. I tend to come away from a piece as soon as I feel tired, or if I notice that Im adding colour thoughtlessly, its better to leave it and go back to it a bit later.
In some cases, I have left a painting several days as something has not felt quite right, and in one instance I turned a picture towards the wall as I couldn’t bear to look at it I felt so much annimosity towards it! But time can give you the space and clarity you need to decide where to take the painting. From these steps I make my way towards the end and it really is as simple a thing as suddenley thinking and feeling..