Posts Tagged ‘Redtreetimes. Painting’

I thought I’d replay the post below.  Sometimes there are days when nothing seems to work and I’ve had quite  a few of them.  Early on, I took these days as an indication of a lack of talent.  But time teaches that bad days are temporary and that there are lessons to be learned from even those bad days.  Knowing when to throw in the towel and start over is such a lesson.  Here’s my post from several years back:

gc-myers-studio-march-2011I’m sitting in my studio looking at an empty canvas. Not too long ago it was not empty.  No, I spent the better part of the afternoon yesterday working on this canvas, a 36″ square that was prepped beforehand with gesso and a first layer of black paint.  Several hours spent and not a minute of it felt smooth or in rhythm.  The paint didn’t come off the brush in the way that I expected or desired.  The composition seemed to just go nowhere ,leaving bland and lifeless  bits of nothing littered all over the canvas.  I never felt a flow, which is that quality I have described before where one mark leads to the next as though you are reading the lines and strokes on the canvas like they were revelatory tea leaves.

No tea leaves here yesterday.  Everything led to nothing.   After a few hours, I was exasperated and I knew deep down inside that I had betrayed my own words by trying to force the work rather than let it flow out organically.

That was the lesson and I knew what had to be done.  I  laid the canvas flat on the floor and broke out the black paint, covering the offensive marks that had been there moments before.  Blackness filled the space where there had been color just moments before.

It felt good, actually.

Time reveals many things and after tens of thousands of hours spent in the studio I have learned that  failure is no big deal.  It’s like the weather– temporary.  It comes and goes.  A failure like yesterday doesn’t make me happy but knowing that sometimes things just don’t work out makes me take such a temporary failure  with a philosophical shrug.  And instead of struggling ahead with this horror show that was unfurling before me, trying to somehow cobble it back to life, my experience has taught me that it would be best to retreat and start anew.

Tabula rasa-  clean slate–so to speak.

So here I sit this morning, a new day,  with a fresh canvas waiting for me and there is a new air of anticipation around it.  Yesterday is but a lesson and there’s no telling what the time spent today will reveal.  Can’t wait.

Here’s one of my all-time favorites which sort of ties in with today’s post.  It’s Time (The Revelator) from Gillian Welch.

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