This project of studying the painting ‘Joy’ has proved to be both fascinating and stressful (due to my self-imposed deadline of creating these works for tomorrow night’s Artworks SQFoot Fundraiser) But mostly it has been an engaging and illuminating process and one that is not finished. Initially, I was very focused on creating replicas of the original painting. I quickly realized that creating exact replicas are almost impossible. I also knew that the paintings needed a life of their own, and forcing them to be exactly like a previous painting probably is more like a an over-bearing stage mom move than a painterly move. But, initially working to create exact replicas has proven a worthy study. It put me back in my “observational drawing mind.” This is a state of deep observation, non-judgment and continual re-assessment and adjustment until all the elements are their proper size and place. This has become a larger metaphor for me that I am working on applying in my own life. Through observation, can I notice the elements of my life that are taking up too much or not enough space? And then can I re-size them to create a life lead by joy?
As for the paintings themselves, I was satisfied with the 12 x 12 inch painting earlier this week. However, I could feel that the 24 x 24 inch painting did not have a life of its own. I knew I needed to let go of the “must be a replica” thought and paint the painting on its own terms. I dove in, made bold strokes, shook things up. It had energy, it had life! But...it wasn’t like the original painting, and so I decided to add one more thing. And completely destroyed it.
I am already past the deadline. I just destroyed any sense of life the painting had, and now I want to throw it across the studio floor. Instead of lighting it on fire, I take a walk. I try to get myself back into that “drawing” state of mind. I am able to re-enter the painting and bring it back to a different and new life. Today, I finished the painting, with hours...or ok maybe one hour not to spare, as I am already 4 days behind the deadline. But I am satisfied. And in painting as in life, joy is the fruit of discipline. I am at the beginning of this study of joy, but I might just be on to something.
If you want to see these paintings in person, join us tomorrow night (Friday Nov 3rd, 2017 from 7-9pm) at Artworks Loveland for our 2nd Annual SQFoot Fundraiser. You can view and even collect these works if your heart desires!
May you have mostly joy and a little despair to keep things in balance :)