Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Going with the flow

Last night I “lost” one of my new paintings – painted over it, thinking I was improving it, and didn’t realize until the layer had dried that not only was it not better, it was now unacceptable. UGH.

I really shouldn’t have been painting last night at all; I was too tired and worn-out to be capable of good ideas or effective decision-making.

I went to bed frustrated that I had wrecked the work. But I woke up this morning with a weird but wonderful singlemindedness and awareness. I went down to the studio and cleaned up, organized, and set things up so that later on today, when I have more time, I can jump right back into my current project.

You know those piles of accumulated STUFF that you don’t know what to do with? This morning, for some reason, I went right to those piles and did whatever had to be done with them – sorting, moving or throwing out. Even stuff that had been sitting there for months because I didn’t know what to do with it, today I just DID something with it.

This experience made me realize the importance of going with the flow. Last night I tried to force a painting, and it didn’t work. This morning, I needed to do something methodical and unromantic, i.e. organizing the studio. But instead of trying to paint when it wasn’t the right time, I did the everyday stuff, and it really worked out.

It’s important to do what feels right, whenever that feeling happens to come up.

This also reminds me of the importance of small and mundane steps when you’re working toward a goal (mine is making progress on these five blue panels, to see if I want to continue working in this way). Little steps add up to one big advance.

I feel like I got closer to finishing the series by doing what I did today – sorting through piles of unrelated junk – than I did last night, when I was actually painting.

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