There seem to be (for me) two distinctly different stages in the process of painting. The first is when I begin a new painting, when it is very exciting and I feel I can do no wrong. Then the second stage is when I go back to it, work into it to bring it together and I feel I can do nothing right. The third stage would ideally be coming back to stage one: doing no wrong; making it right.
Yesterday a couple of artist friends came by, poked around with me in my studio. I was in the first stage with my new paintings, that point where everything is so fresh. Then there were the ones I am struggling with, some for weeks, some for years. I showed them the ones I couldn’t seem to bring back to that place where I could let go, let it (the painting) go into a better, more vibrant realm. The ones where I feel my solutions are used, tired, ultimately boring to me. And of course, my friends, being intelligent, practicing artists, responded with good criticisms, ones that felt right but painful to hear even though I thought the same way.
And then they left and I was alone with my thoughts. And had to wait until this morning to get back into my studio. That was the hard part. But I’ve been sufficiently challenged to let whatever is brewing under the surface to bubble up. To get back to that stage one.