So… I’ve had a painting on my easel about a month now, and I haven’t done anything with it in all that time.
It’s past the drawing stage, past the initial underpainting stage, well into the stage that I start putting final colors on… it’s just waiting for more work. But every time I looked at it, I groaned inside and wracked my brain for Things That Had To Be Done First. Like folding laundry. Or cleaning the bathroom.
It took me a couple weeks, but I finally recognized… I was procrastinating. And that could only mean one thing: I didn’t believe in my project.
But I had to work. I had to get it done, because that’s what artists do, right? They WORK, even when the work is unpleasant, just like any other job. Right? Because to do otherwise is to fail. Right?
Commission work and illustration require an artist to satisfy a client’s request, but fine art has more freedom. Once I recognized that I was no longer passionate about my piece, and there was no one I needed to satisfy except myself, I gave myself permission to set the unwanted work aside and start working on something new. And that was a huge step for me; something that is getting me past what might at one point have been a huge stopping point in my work. Why bash my head against a brick wall when I can walk around the corner instead and find a new direction?
Last night I drew out a new canvas that I like better, and I’m more excited about. It’s guaranteed to be finished.
The reject isn’t going away. I’ll let it steep in a corner for a while and think about what to do with it next. I may pick it back up and finish it – or I may paint over the whole thing with a new ground and start fresh with a new concept. And that’s okay. That’s growth; that’s forward progress – and that’s far from failure.