Knowing When to Quit…

Those who have spent a good deal of time painting will know exactly what I mean… There is a noticeable feeling I get when a painting is behaving as it should.  Colors are brighter, strokes are tighter or flow more evenly.  All the planets align and a fantastic painting is born.  Sometimes, however, things don’t quite work out how I expect.  It could be a combination of stress, creative exhaustion… a melting pot of a thousand other ingredients that keep me and my trusty brushes from doing our best work.  Just the same as when all is well; when the badness begins, you just know.  I usually toss my brush in my water jar and think , “This ain’t happenin!”  I usually try to leave it for a few days hoping that when I return to the easel, the planets will realign and I can turn this thing around.  Every so often, this works.  Most of the time, it doesn’t.  So the question at hand is, “When do you call it quits?”  It is easy to pour a bowl of gesso and return to a blank slate.  Not that paintings and kids are the same, well for artists, sometimes they are…it’s a labor of love thing.  If your kid is having a rough patch, misbehaving; those aggravating things kids often do, you don’t return them and start over.  Parents spend time correcting the behavior to create something beautiful and worthwhile.  I want to try to employ the same tactics in my “not-so-good” paintings.  Leave the gesso on the shelf and keep soldiering on until it is completed.  When the muses and painting gods seem to be against me; it seems like a waste of energy to keep fighting the inevitable…my painting WILL be crappy. Quit or keep going, quit or keep going?  I ask myself this a hundred times when I reach “the point.”  Is the time I already invested a waste?  Some of these paintings are ones that cause me to question whether or not I am actually a good painter.  Each work started with an idea, a enthusiastic thought that I have mentally designed something that will be good.  Perhaps they each deserve to come to fruition, fully.  I think the key is to identify the triggers that cause my work to head south in the first place.  I know this will be an ongoing investigation…

Below: the stagnant Einstein

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The Great Studio Organization Effort 2013

I see all these photos in magazines and on social media sites with lovely images of organized, color-coded, no -paint- splatters -on -the -wall studios and offices.  My biggest question is…. do these really exist?  It’s akin to women looking at images of super-models and underfed Eastern Europeans in clothing and beauty ads.  I get studio envy.  Mine is a maze of madness where personal injury is likely on a daily basis.  There are towering boxes of fabrics and remnants of holiday crafts past.  I share a space with my better half, Ryan who has learned to mentally block out the chaos and focus on his area on the other side of the room.  He and I have started in with larger paintings, cause everything’s bigger in Texas, which will require more open space. SO…I decided yesterday that productivity is bred from some sort of order.  I WILL CLEAN the studio.  Around 9:00pm I was at it; tossing out trash; consolidating boxes with that “WOOOO” feeling.  1:00 AM: it was like sitting in a congressional filibuster; that “beat -your -head -on -the -wall” feeling. Now the rest of our home looks like we are moving… something my aunt and I refer to as the “sh*t shuffle.”  I guess these are perils of being a business-owner with a studio/inventory storage center in your home.  I can resolve to be better organized and have been fortunate to have Ryan’s help (he a complete anti-hoarder; which is fantastic).  We are taking on larger markets and are currently working on our first official online store. I know we will feel the growing pains soon.  I will never complain about these.  I want to sell and share the things I make and am passionate about.  However, my wares and arts do deserve a nice organized place to hang out until they are sent off to their new homes.  I know that one day, in the not-so-distant future, I will have a brick and mortar store with a stockroom and possibly (the angels sing) a work area. I am reminded of so many stories of the entrepreneurs who have started new companies and some that are now very large corporations.  I will try to remember the stories I’ve read of dining tables doubling as factory assembly lines and living rooms that look like sweat shops. I love the things I make and the constant state of dreaming up new ideas to craft and share.  I love making art and have worked very hard to get to a point where I can make art for a living.  I continue my studio recovery efforts and console myself with the fact that those folks in the magazine pictures were probably up until the wee hours cleaning up their everyday messes and two days after the photo shoot; chaos reigns once again.