There isn’t always a visible finish line…

I was struggling this morning.

It was one of those days where color was meaningless. They all looked the same to me. Nothing worked well, even the tones that by definition work.  I couldn’t see it.  Shapes had no form.  Value had no value. It sucked.

My way of getting stuff out rarely deviates from: Idea – Sketch – Finish.  More often than not, and when faced with a time crunch, I skip the second step and start finishing as soon as the idea hits me. It’s a luxury and a skill I’ve cultivated after years of… years. I didn’t consciously try to develop it… it just happened from sheer repetition.

Anyway, back to this morning.

You know what the worst part was? I was getting frustrated. I was getting REALLY frustrated. When I get frustrated I can either become great (also known as lucky) or a jerk who never wants to create again. I don’t know what was making it more difficult for me: that I wasn’t satisfied with what I was churning out or that I wouldn’t have anything to post today.  That the schedule I’ve adhered to for nearly a year would be disturbed. Maybe they were all bothering me equally.

I’d invested a good chunk of my morning on the portrait of me in the style of Alphonse Mucha… testing the design limits of Procreate’s UNDO feature and just piling on layer after test layer.

“If I can’t figure this out and finish in 20 minutes, I’m moving on.”

To a civilian, that doesn’t appear to be the abject HORROR that it is to someone like me. And even when you DO finish something you never REALLY think it’s finished.

My day is ruined already at 3:27 a.m. and no one but me is awake to know it.

But then I realized that in my “process” with today’s piece, I’d completed two of the three steps. I took another look at the messy sketch I was working off of and suddenly it became beautiful. I could see the engineering… the scaffolding beneath the surface that I couldn’t provide. All the stuff that I did to get me to where I needed to go was there…I just couldn’t get there.

Every now and then we all need a refresher on how we got to now. If you change direction along the way… it’s okay. You tried.

So it’s finished.

And tomorrow I’ll do it all over again.

Categories: art