I thought it would be fun to do a weekly “WIP Wednesday” post. WIP is used across social media platforms as an acronym for: Work In Progress.
I thought ‘this will be easy, I’ve got plenty of pieces I’m currently working on.’
So I started rifling through the piles of paintings – on my floor, on my studio table, the mounds of canvasses stacked in my living room, even pieces I’ve temporarily placed on the wall in hopes that viewing would summon an ending I felt comfortable with.
Rummaging through the endless piles, I had the harsh realization that – gasp – most of my work is unfinished. And, not in a beautiful life analogy-kind of way. But in an oh crud, I haven’t finished a painting in a few weeks-kind of way.
I’ve started many during this phase while my learning curve is soaring. But when I’d come back to the unfinished paintings, I sometimes didn’t care for the work itself and felt helpless in finishing it.
This is when I realized I had hit my first lull in painting. The reality felt harsh – mostly because, while I knew it was inevitable, I didn’t know how long it would take me to rebound out of it.
I tried working on one of the pieces, a watercolor sky – a medium and subject I’m somewhat comfortable with – and I worked it. And I worked it. I worked it so much that by the time it was too late to recover, I realized I’d rubbed the first layer of paper right off the page, covering the painting with soggy shreds of dirty paper. Eww, I thought. I stepped away for a run. And again, I had an icky run. I visited gardens that usually light my inner creative on fire. Last night they barely lit a match for me. And the run – it was slow and painful, despite having completed a ten-mile run a week ago.
So I went from analog to digital mode and looked up one of my favorite watercolorists, Emily Proud. I found one of her pieces that inspired me and I let myself get lost in it.
To my surprise, it worked – I slowed my pace, turned off my cell phone and allowed myself more time to not feel rushed. It was a bit painful at first. I was hard on myself and my eye for error was drunk with mistakes. But I kept going.
And, I finished it (the plant on the left in the below photo). I wasn’t even sure if anyone would like it – but that didn’t matter to me. What mattered was that I sat there patiently, focused and fell in love with watercolors as a medium – again.
It felt so good. And so, on my painter’s high, I started playing around because I had spare paint I didn’t want to waste. These bubbles are playful, but – to me – they also communicate with a serious undertone. I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with different color combinations of the bubbles.
I know there will be good days and bad. Some days will be more inspired; some days may be dark and lonely. But, at the end of the day, I will always have my paints and I can always come back to the canvas.
I will make mistakes – lots of them, I’m certain – but that is how I’ve learned everything I know. And so, while it may be uncomfortable I know it is only temporary.
Our world is full of beauty and I strive to love, seek and explore it – unconditionally. So, here’s my actual WIP Wednesday piece: a painting I recently experimented with. I may end up scrapping it altogether, but I’ll still take away a whole bunch of learning and those lessons may be more valuable than the painting itself. (Warning: I took these photos on my iPhone with no intention other than to document for myself, but decided today it might be fun to share the progression.)