Too close to the forest
I find that with more complicated commission projects, there comes a time when I get too close to the work that I no longer see it with fresh eyes. I reached that point with a commission that I am working on right now (a secret, so I can't share). It was nearing completion, in terms of the elements of the piece being fully painted, but I needed the client to look at it and provide feedback.
I felt in my gut that I didn't have it right, but I had spent too many hours staring at the canvas and couldn't see it clearly. I'm so grateful that the client didn't hold back and let me know that I had missed the mark. With a small bit of feedback, I was able to focus on what needed to change and jumped into it right away. I'm going to work it some more today and see if I can get to the essence of the amazing subjects.
How many times have I been too close to the forest to see the trees? Too many times in my life to count, more than several dozen times in this three-year painting journey. The fact is - and it's hard fact to accept - that I'm not going to hit the mark on the first try every time. I keep the portrait of George Bush on my wall to remind me of that reality. I struggled long and hard on the painting, but I kept at it until it felt right. I was tenacious with it, just as I will be with this current project.
When you can not longer see what's in front of you with objective eyes, it's time to back away from things for a bit, or ask someone to look for you. That new and fresh perspective will provide honest clarity and important truths.