Tuesday was an unusual day. A huge mean burst of wind and rain came through, spawning tornado warnings (not watches but real warnings - meaning go to a safe place now). Nothing bad happened in our area but some people in Indiana and Illinois didn't fare as well. This storm rushed through the midwest like a fast-moving train. At least we got some much needed rain.
I'm trying to paint today. But I still seem out of sorts and easily discouraged. You know, I think there was something in one of the latest Robert Genn newsletters that really scared me. In response to an artist who is continually dissatisfied with his work, Mr. Genn said:
"...there are four main types of painterly dissatisfaction:
"Amateur epiphany" is where it dawns on the artist that the work is now and will probably remain substandard. The artist may still enjoy doing the work, even occasionally getting paid for it, but the possibility of stellar quality looms unlikely. The popular antidote is to fool oneself that the work is okay. Lots of unsatisfactory work is delivered with the benefit of this delusion.
"Journeyman jading" is where the subject matter or manner of painting loses its initial luster and is seen as shallow, unworthy or problematical. When motifs or ideas start to become boring or tedious, the artist becomes chronically dissatisfied and it's time to think again and move on.
"Workman remorse" is where the artist has high standards that are very often achieved, and yet there is a genuine concern for particular surface quality, compositional problems, colour weaknesses, and so on--just the sort of thing you mention. Re-dedication, re-thinking and "back to basics" may be in order.
I'm hoping my current dissatisfaction with all my work lately due to number 3 - workman remorse, and not number 1 - amateur epiphany. I assume I'll work it out in a few days...or weeks.
How long does it take you to get out of a rut like this? Do you jump into something else and change direction, thereby fooling your inner critique. Or do you think about it, wrestle with the questions and try to come up with answers that re-energize you and make you want to pick up the brush with renewed hope?
What I've been doing lately:
A small tomato study that is bad...
A landscape using more Yellowstone photos. This one in watercolor and not very good. But it's just the beginning stages.
And a watercolor started of some daturas growing in New Orleans one hot summer day.
I began with the darks first, in the foliage, then the middle greens. Haven't touched the flowers yet.