Finding the sizzle

I was working on a portrait of Marilyn Monroe at a Talitha's Hope 4 a Cure last year.  As I put down the colours and tried to get the balance right, I was silently asking myself "Am I blowin' it?"  I honestly felt like I was missing the mark.  Sensing the need to take a break, I got up and went for a walk around the space filled with several hundred people.

I turned around and looked at the canvas on my easel from a distance and this is pretty much what I saw.

I wasn't blowin' it at all; I was just a little too close to the forest to see the trees.

The feeling of impending failure pops up from time to time.  It really depends on the painting and the process that I decide to use to bring it to completion.  More often than I'd like, there is an uncomfortable phase, when the painting feels like a mess or appears amateurish.  However, the thing I've learned after 912 paintings (Yes. I keep a running count.) is that some projects require working through rough patches to get where they need to go.  Trusting and believing that it will come together is essential.  It would be so easy to give up and start again.  In 912 projects, I've always knuckled down and worked it out.

There are other times when a seemingly complete project isn't quite done.  Let me share two recent examples and let you see the difference.

I had this memorial portrait of Aretha Franklin on my feature wall for the past several days.  It remained unsigned, as I felt like I had not found the sizzle yet.  I emerged from a quick nap yesterday and found it.  Here is the before and after.

Another example is the painting of macaws that I did yesterday.  It was substantially complete, but I couldn't get the idea of rain out of my head.  The metaphor I was searching for was that in love we instinctively protect each other during inclement times.  See the difference?

I am a self taught artist.  My learning journey never stops.  I'm grateful to be on this path and excited for what the future holds in terms of new creative discoveries.


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