So last Thursday evening when Ronnie Maziarek set up our model in a pose that offered not even the remotest possibility of portraiture, I found myself facing two extremely uncomfortable options:
a. Pack up my gear and walk out
b. Paint something I just wasn't interested in painting.
So . . . if it was just a matter of non-interest, why was I feeling borderline panic?
If I fail at painting something, I can frame it as a learning experience. "There's always tomorrow." Right? Well for me the absolute truth of the matter is that there is NOT always tomorrow - EVER. And when I fail at a painting, I feel as though I'm failing myself, my family, my collectors and everyone who's ever believed in me.
So all of that just parked its little ass right there next to me last Thursday as I came to realize there would be no portrait that evening.
What do you do when that happens to you? What do you do when you realize you're not just dealing with a painting situation here but rather a choice that says something about you as a human being?
You can hire a therapist, a life coach, or read any number of self-help books. But when you get to the exact moment when you have to either paint or run, there really is only one practical piece of advice. And interestingly it comes from Madison Avenue: "JUST DO IT". Apparently when you act, your mind suddenly becomes engaged in doing, not in imagining consequences. Sounds easy, yes?
So, I JUST DID IT. And it wasn't easy. It's not a great painting. It's not even a good painting. But it has moments and I learned a few things - and you know what? I don't think I failed anyone's expectations of me.
What I did learn is that painting still has the ability to terrify me now and then and that when faced with a choice of doing or not doing because of fear, "JUST DO IT!"
This site is both the chronicle of my recent sabbatical - the theme of which was "a sense of place" and my ongoing work in life after sabbatical. I try to share thoughts and insights about my work and the practice of painting that others will find useful and applicable to their own work. I hope you enjoy your visit!