I was having lunch with my friend Janell the other day, who is a therapist/artist/poet. We met at this abstract art class at the Richmond Art Center earlier in the fall, and agreed that it'd been a good opportunity to network and gather ideas and inspiration from one another. It was during one of the class sessions that she had turned to me and said, "Art is hard. Writing is much easier". Such a simple sentiment but with so much truth and complexity behind it. (I particularly appreciated her remark as a fellow writer/poet -- although I'm not sure I would wholeheartedly agree!)
For me, having not painted in so long, it was incredibly daunting to resume -- as with anything, I suppose, the hardest step is always the first one. But, once I started again, I encountered all this doubt and hesitation. I had plenty of ideas that I wanted to execute, but felt uncertain of my skill or that the ideas would come to fruition on the canvas. There were many a idea that never blossomed fully in vivo. I remember distinctly that I had this idea of layering pink and orange paint on a canvas, then creating additional layers of color and texture on top. The first day I worked on it, I felt great. I loved the colors together and was so excited to keep working on it. But the second and third time I painted, the original idea that I had kept escaping -- I felt it was just outside my reach, and frustratingly either my hands or mind were unable to translate what I had dreamt. It got to the point where I hated the piece. I couldn't even look at it for a while, so I hid it away behind several other canvases. I remember disparaging my work to my one-time art instructor, Joyce [Conlon], and she gave me some really sound advice. She told me that hating a piece was a great place to be. If I hated it that much, then I shouldn't be afraid to experiment with it, or wreck it, or work on it.
That was a reminder to me to not be afraid. Also, it taught me an important lesson for myself and how I work -- sometimes I might have a fairly concrete idea of what I want to create, but I should never be so rigid as to not allow the work to be an organic process. Coming back to that original pink/orange piece was challenging, but the end result is one that I'm happy with.