Somewhere a little past halfway in a painting there is a point when one is tempted to quit.
Starting a painting is fun. Full of hope and anticipation for how beautiful it can become, with little pressure on the first bits of paint being perfect.
Then I work a bit further. And a little more. And then, there it is. The wall.
Perhaps not unlike the 19 mile wall of a marathon. That point where we feel spent. Like we've given it our best effort, but we the finish line isn't in sight anytime soon.
I hit that wall last evening on a large triptych I'm working on. It's too soon to show it to you. I want to keep it a surprise, because it is quite different from my usual work. Three figures in the water. That's all I'm saying for now.
Since I've chosen to write about the stuck point, I now need to come up with a different one to show you today.
Let's try this one. It's a small section of a larger painting that I never finished. A self portrait, done from a photograph taken in a mirror over my shoulder.
The difference with this one is that stopping at mile 19 was just fine with me. This is the part that mattered. Even unfinished.
Dare I sound too trite if I say something like, "kinda like me - a work still in progress." More on that another time. Right now, at this moment, I need to go back to the easel, to the triptych where I got stuck last night.
Because one of the things that I've learned about that stuck moment in a painting is that if I can push through it, reach down and grab a little more endurance, there is a point not much farther down the road where stuck turns to exhilaration as I see it start to really come together, and the painting gets fun again.
I'm oh so looking forward to showing the new one to you. Just not quite yet. Please stay tuned... artist at work.