The Waitng Game . . . .

"Noon Nap"
Oil on canvas
24 x 36 inches

At last!   This painting has been BEGGING to be finished for four, or more, years.   And now it is done!   I have loved the idea since drawing it on the canvas.   As an oil painter, however, I have been in the learning mode for quite some time.   (Does it ever end?   Doubtful, Mike!)

Let's face it.  Us artists are sometimes in over our heads when it comes to matching our skills to what our ideas for paintings are.   I suppose we simply must paint and wait for our skills to catch up.

My beautiful daughter has recently stepped into the ring to learn to paint.   And, Wow!  Am I ever excited for her!!!   However, I can see pain in her eyes and hear her cries for help as her frustration comes to the surface.   Sadly, I know that she must endure the frustration and keep working (hard!) until her skills catch up to her visions.   It is in the doing that we artists truly learn.   Instruction is good for suggestions about how to go about something, but there is simply nothing but the long, stumbling journey that forces our novice ways into mastery.   Acres of paper (or canvas) and brush miles is all it takes.

Even advanced artists learn that sometimes the vision is one thing and the outcome of a painting about that vision simply don't come together.   It's part of the deal that we sign up for, even though we don't realize that we face that every day in our painting career.   (I am told by a maestro that this never changes.   We will always be reaching beyond what we can do now.)

I have 20 flat file drawers.  Half of them are for paper storage.  The other ten drawers are for paintings in various stages of being "finished."   Many paintings have entered those drawers to live there for a few years (yes, years!) until I could instantly see exactly what needed to be done to accomplish that state of being 'finished' and well done.   I learned, some years ago, not to become angry or frustrated when I came to a dead stop and didn't know what or how to do to complete a painting.   After a few days of sincere contemplation and considering alternatives without a final decision of how to proceed, the painting would go to the drawer to live.   I sort through those paintings approximately every six months . . .  .sometimes only annually.   It is amazing how a single glimpse at one of them can startle me into knowing exactly what to do!  

This painting, above, has lived in the studio for at least four years waiting for that singular moment when I knew exactly what it needed.   That moment arrived a few weeks ago when I couldn't put brush to canvas.   It has waited patiently on my easel for me to execute the solution.   Each time I walked into the studio, it would beckon . . .until today.

And so it is, Painters.  We must learn to accept the fact that we may not be ready to fully expose our ideas onto canvas or paper until our skills and creative muscle are up to the task.   We just put a stubborn painting in a drawer and wait for our skills to mature properly . . . . and enjoy the journey getting there.