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   Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!

   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Thursday, March 15, 2007
  what's done is... not
Yesterday I worked all day and into the evening on a painting that I thought was "done" the last time I really looked at it--making subtle shifts in color, adding texture and areas of contrast...then thinking "no, not right"...on and on, back and forth, adding, subtracting.

With pressure on to produce a lot of new work (new gallery commitments, old gallery commitments, upcoming shows) I've had this nagging worry that I could lose my self-critical edge. That in the interest of getting things done, I could easily slip into some kind of "crank 'em out" mode and not even realize I was doing it.

Well yesterday, grueling as it was, reassured me--as long as I can still fuss all day with one painting that was probably "fine" to begin with, I'm still my own harshest critic.

PS: I'm not posting a photo of the blasted thing...it still isn't done.
 
Comments:
You're singing my song, Rebecca! We long for that rush of creativity to strike when we need it most, then we don't trust it when it happens! Woe is us ;-)
 
Yes, yes, yes.............don't we all know that song! Still waiting for the time I don't trust to come around again. I think it will soon.
That old muse just likes to put us in our place now and then is all.
 
Well I had to think about these comments a bit...how do creative rush and self-criticism work together? Both seem desirable and necessary as part of the process, yet they can also seem to be opposites. One says, "push forward," and the other says "pull back." If equally applied, there is balance, at least theoretically!

What I was thinking about, realizing, as I wrote that blog entry was that I don't really trust that a painting is good until I've subjected it to my most critical eye...all the ones in my studio now --all of which have come about in the energy inspired by deadlines and commitments...well, they'll all have to go through that scrutiny before leaving the studio. That is reassuring to me, makes me feel that the work won't suffer because of needing to produce so much of it. But on the other hand I know it will take time to go through this process, and time is in short supply at this point. There will probably be some that don't make the cut--I just hope I end up with what I need to have done.
 
I know EXACTLY what you mean. I am a very harsh critic of myself and I am also wresltling with a picture right now.
 
Yep, I've got to agree with what's already been said. The onset of a creative rush usually means I'm working at the very top of my abilities for once... but it happens so rarely that my automatic (and yes, very harsh) critical impulses kick in instantly... like white blood cells blindly trying to fight off an invasion.

Said another way: it's when I have the "luxury" of sitting around for too long, weighing and debating, that I get self-conscious and am liable to produce some serious junk. In the midst of a flow is where I make the best choices, every time.

Side note: I like the light effects in the top panel of that piece just below. They make me think of lens-flare or "sun-dogs" in photography...
 
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       Rebecca Crowell