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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Ugly Stage!

Like it or not it seems that every painting has to go through a stage that is known as, “The Uglies”. After spending days fusing and fixing a painting you step back and realize you don’t like it. Now I do occasionally paint something that is intended to be ugly. I try not to do it too often. However, when a painting you are hoping will be your best work yet turns into a “monster”-- it really hurts!

Have faith. I’ve learned trough experience not to give up too soon. What started as a respectable idea, one that you gave up buckets of sweat and tears, as well as your most worthy attention should be “good”. But the reality is not everything goes from sketch to masterpiece the first time around. Not to fret!

The motto of a painter should be, “if at first you don’t succeed -- keep on at it until you do”! I can’t tell you how many paintings I’ve wanted to toss in the waste can that ended up in an exhibition or on a buyer’s wall. Not because they bought something mediocre, but because I kept working and reworking until the piece became better.

Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I may not like what I see but you may like what you see. We may both not like what we see or we may both like what we see. It may be good, it may be OK or it may be terrific. It might be at that “Ugly” place! After three days it should be somewhere. Right? Speaking of which, here is a look at my most recent painting:

I’ve touched up some of the leaves on the Forsythia, added some rocks, and started to work on the creek’s shoreline. I’m feeling my way at this point. Discovering what colors work and what colors don’t. It may seem like a strange way to work at a watercolor, but my oil painting technique often works even in this “unforgiving” medium.

Another piece of advise I learned from my Painting professor years ago was that when a painting enters an ugly stage – walk away. Not forever, but for a little while. Yesterday, Barbara and I drove 4 ½ hours to Goldsboro, North Carolina to enter two of my paintings in a National Juried Competition with the Arts Council of Wayne County. After dropping off the paintings, we had a wonderful dinner at Outback, a great night’s sleep at the Comfort Inn & Suites and then we enjoyed a leisure drive back today. I didn’t think about my painting all that time. Now I’m ready to go to work.



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