Well, it didn't quite turn out that way. When I added the final layer just now, UGH. Yuck. Too much. No problem, I thought, it's acrylic, so I'll just rinse off the top layer and I'll be back to the wonderful surfaces I created last night.
No, not happening. Because it had only been about 5 hours since the original layers were created, the water began taking off everything. No problem, I thought. I'll just "go with it," and remove some color and have a soft muted surface.
Not in the cards. The sponge I applied smeared everything, leaving a blurred mess that showed no sign of last night's promise. Gone, bye, unsalvageable. And I have no more canvas, so I'd have to drive out to the store to buy more, and I really don't have enough money in my budget right now for new art supplies.
Sigh. Such is the creative process! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I should take comfort in the fact that I HAD two cool paintings that, with effort, time and money, I will be able to duplicate to some degree.
As I was cleaning up my studio in frustration after this experience, I remembered other times in the past when I have been frustrated like this. Well, truth to tell, there are too many to possibly remember them all. That's part of being an artist!
But I remembered two paintings in particular that I really like, and that were a direct result of feeling so angry, desperate, and ready to SCREAM because nothing was turning out that I started slapping stuff on the canvas ... and these spontaneous emotional responses turned out to be much more visually rich than any kind of intentional application.
One of them is the painting "Hook," shown below. I had removed and reworked these large fabric pieces countless times, and still I hated the composition. I finally got so mad that I just pulled them all off the canvas and threw them on the studio floor. Then I had one last impulse to act; not an idea for a solution, mind you, but an undirected burst of energy. I grabbed them off the floor and just stuck them onto the canvas, letting them land anywhere they happened to land. And then I stepped back in amazement. Somehow, this worked better than any of the careful arranging I had just spent hours doing! My initial instincts for color and shape had been fine; I had just been "trying too hard." This remains one of my favorite paintings.
|"Hook," acrylic and oil stick on fabric on canvas, 64" H x 44" W, 1998|
And you know what? This cool painting resulted!
|"Scribble 1," acrylic on paper on canvas, 48" H x 28" W, 2009|
Sometimes, however, frustration can lead to spontaneity, and that might be just the "breath of fresh air" that the painting needs.