The Creative Epiphany – The Year-Long Canvas Post #3….being underwhelmed

gesture1   gesture2

Gesture #1 and #2 on the Year-Long Canvas – Big F****** Deal, right?

I must say that this Year-Long Canvas Project (see my archives for more explanation) is starting off as a non-event. Knowing how far I have to go on it and anticipating all the many layers of paint ahead of me, it seems irrelevant what my first gestures on the canvas are. I am ALREADY  yawning with it, eager to pick up speed. We all knew that would happen, but so soon?

My first brushstroke was not done with a brush – one of my favorite ways to begin a painting  is with a random swipe of my squeegee over liquid paint. I chose Paynes Gray. Why not a lighter color? Because I felt like being dramatic and I love the possibilities of Paynes Gray; it has more character than jet black. I chose to swipe it in the sort of diagonal direction so that I could  take advantage of the purposeful texture already there from my background color’s application.  Then a second color, Naples Yellow, using a palette knife and spontaneously adding a fling of splatter with it which will undoubtedly not matter one dot by the end of the painting but it got a few of my wiggles out and made me feel good. Not yet a third color. And no blending just yet.

Wow that was fun….sort of. Am I going slow enough? Such a pathetically small offering to the art Buddha.

I have other irons in the fire of course – several other canvases demanding my attention – so the lazy year long canvas ( I am sure it hates that nickname) is just standing over there in the corner now. It is very difficult for it to be a non-participant in the daily hum of things. I would not want it to be a sad painting, so I consciously decide to be joyful when I work on it the next time.

I guess I am predictably engaged in this process. So easy to know me and how I will handle it. So boring in my reaction. SOOO already feeling frustration. I am sure that my instructor knew full well what he was doing in offering this challenge to me. Painting like this is like biting your tongue until it bleeds with things you want to say. It is like knowing you will have a scrumptious dinner but not until next year.

I am silently screaming…..but I was told to make just a few gestures at each meeting of the canvas and me, allowing time between sessions to ponder and think and even meditate, I assume. How long between meetings? I don’t know. Restraint is the key word. It could vary immensely from month to month. It occurs to me that I am too old for a time factor like this. I try to make the most of every single day….because at a certain age you just never know. So I have trained myself to live in the NOW, savoring the moments. And I guess that is actually the point in a project of such long duration. But still, next year seems very far off.

But I can do it. I can restrain myself. Hey – you bet I can.

Here I go, doing nothing on it for awhile.


6 responses to “The Creative Epiphany – The Year-Long Canvas Post #3….being underwhelmed

  1. I think I would be going nuts or being totally bored as well. I get frustrated when I see thing.s out in the garage that I haven’t been able to work on


  2. Restraint and your name just don’t seem to go on the same page. So, I’m not sure I get this concept; what exactly is this supposed to teach you? Patience? More thought to your process and subject matter? Is it a zen kind of thing?
    I love Payne Gray and Naples Yellow, just those two colors names make me happy, never mind the actual colors that I think are going to be my two new favorites.


    • well yes it is an exercise in patience, careful thought, resilience, perseverance and all that good stuff. Of course I have worked on certain paintings for months, but not a year. It is also a lesson in what kinds of changes can be brought to your work in a 365 day period of time – growth in other words. And as my esteemed instructor said to me, it is also about learning to trust yourself, so that when you feel like quitting, because you like what you see and don’t want to lose it, you must go on and come to a different conclusion, even when you think you can’t.


  3. YAY!!! You did it! I’m so enjoying this – as I am the least patient person on the planet. I KNOW you can restrain yourself, as difficult as it may be, because…you are one tough cookie! I think something phenomenal is going to emerge from this exercise and your instructor knows it. I may have a more difficult time with patience than you!


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