Today I have decided to paint again after weeks of not painting. The idea of painting fills me with equal parts of excitement and anxiety. Excitement as I look forward to the time I spend painting and the end-product. Anxiety because it has been a while since I last painted and I did not want to fail after spending a considerable time on it.
I was undecided on the time of day or season my painting will be in so I used the gray gesso. Painting, unlike sketching, taught me a lot about patience. After applying the gesso, I have to stand back and wait for the gesso to dry up. In that time, I played music to get me into the mindless zone that I normally put myself in when painting or running. I did not over think how I will start the painting as I am confident that I have enough basic skills and imagination to have a good start.
The sky was taking shape and I was loving the shapes of the clouds however I was unsure on the highlight of colours that I placed on the clouds. The trees took shape with little effort. I decided to put colours on the trees and just like that the painting depicted an autumn scene. I decided to paint a swan on the river as I was observing the swans yesterday. The first swan turned out acceptable so I decided to paint another one that was flapping its wings. This swan also turned out to be good as well. These aspects of the paintings actually make a good picture already but I had reserved space for the foreground objects. I painted the bank of the river on the foreground. I was already happy with the picture but it was pretty obvious that there is something missing on the foreground. I need to have subjects on the foreground to become the focus of the whole painting. This time, I know I was over thinking it so I had to stand back and stop. I decided to eat a slice of roll whilst staring at the painting.
Part of me was saying to just leave it alone as it is already a good painting. Why risk ruining something that is already good? Swans! I actually painted beautiful swans so why risk ruining it? However, a big part of me knows that the painting is unfinished and that whilst the painting was already good, there was no real focus. It needed something to focus the attention of the viewer and complete the painting.It can be better.
So after I have eaten the roll and danced off the rest of my doubts, I sat down to finish my painting. I was uncertain on how to paint the people because I have not painted seated people before. (drawn – yes! but not painted as I only started painting this year). I painted the people as my gut dictated. I added more bushes and flowers on the foreground. I did not stop until my mind says, ‘It is done.’ After I placed the palette knife down, I stood back to look at the whole picture. In no way were the elements in the foreground perfect but they completed the picture in my eyes.
As I am sipping my hot chocolate and admiring my new painting, I contemplated that my indecision earlier on is like some instances in my life when I am like a deer caught in the headlights; stuck on the spot. Most aspects of my life, I know my mind or opinion about things. It is very rare that I cannot make my mind to take the next steps. I always make decisions based on evidence, science and logic. If those three do not provide enough basis for a decision then I go by what my gut says which has not failed me (yet). But there are instances where I am not keen on changing the status quo, when the current situation is already good… I do not want to rock the boat especially if the risks are high and the outcome is largely unknown. For all my bravado, I am definitely a coward at times in certain situations and will only man up when backed to a corner. The only good thing is that I am self-aware even if I chose to ignore a situation so eventually I will make a decision. I try not to have unfinished paintings in my life. It may look good at a glance and others may think that it is already good but I would know that there is something is missing.
That is enough introspection on a cold rainy Monday afternoon when I can just enjoy my cup of hot chocolate and my new painting.