Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Over Worked

I don’t really have a 9 to 5 job… it is more like 10 to 6. Ok I’m not going to lie to yoou, I work whenever I can and am almost always thinking about work. But this post isn’t about me being overworked, it’s about a painting I overworked. The hardest part about my job is knowing when to stop. It isn’t easy searching for perfection.

 It started last week while working on a new piece for my wallflower series. I had the background all done. It was a baroque wallpaper pattern in silver on white. It was soft and subtle, just how I imagined it would be. I had concocted the idea during my morning run and now here it was before me. I drew the image out perfectly, cropped it just enough to make it interesting. I was excited to start. I painted my darks, roughed in the mid tones and worked my way to the highlights. For all the non – artist readers…I’m just painting. Everything is going great. The wax is flowing off the brush, the birds are singing, the sun is out. All is good at PinkCow Studio.

I continued painting blissfully for a few hours, developing the painting and excited with my efforts. I stopped and had lunch. It must have been something I ate that changed my eyesight. I walked back into the studio to find that what I thought was perfection was really a deconstructed Mr. Potato Head. How could I have been so wrong, so off my game? This is what I do. I’ve made a full time job out of it. I decided to add a few gestural brush strokes, some flicks of confident brush strokes, a bit of panache. French words always make things seem fancy. Nothing…nothing was working. There were some great parts but the face just wouldn’t come together.
I continued on this fruitless journey for 3 days, adding and scraping away, getting closer to perfection only to pass it with another brush stroke in the wrong direction. For everything I love about painting in wax there is one terrible drawback. The accumulation of bad brush strokes leads to a very thick painting. I scrape it away and start again. The only thing that made me stop was that I needed to hang it to show someone. So I called it done. Maybe I just wanted to stop and ease the frustration.

Here it sits on my wall as I write this. It has been a week since I hung it. It has had time to settle in and be admired. There are some beautiful parts and there are some parts that rake on my nerves like talking to a “customer representative”. While eating breakfast this morning I thought I’d write about the painting and after lunch I’ll take the blowtorch to it melt it off and use that beautiful silver baroque wallpaper for something else.

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