Yesterday I had to varnish paintings. This is one part of the process that rather sucks. The spray varnish I use stinks to high heaven so can’t be done in the house. During the summer months my greenhouse works well…but it leaks in heavy rain, and so, yeah. I have to plan varnishing now based on weather, and then there’s the issue of it being too cold for them to dry properly.
Anyway, I digress! Yesterday when I was working with a dozen or so pieces, most of which I haven’t looked at for a few weeks, I realized how many of them I was really happy with, where I had hit the spot with the color combinations, or I’d been able to compose something intriguing to me.
On the heels of that awareness came the realization that I waste, toss, or recycle a lot less paint now than I did a few months ago.
I’ve been pouring fluid art for about nine months. I suppose at least 80% of the artwork I’ve created in that time has been either experimentation or repetition while I tried to master a technique. A lot of those experiments have had to do with finding the right pouring mediums, and trying different paint brands.
I have a bargain bin/donation tote that may have more paintings in it than the tote that holds pieces shown on my website…but the website paintings are steadily growing, and at some point there will be more of them than the tote of near-misses.
All of this adds up to progress. I’m learning! I’m not just banging around in the dark every time, hoping I’ll get lucky and something will come together. I’m aware of which techniques I need more practice with, and which methods almost always produce something I love. My tenuous grasp on color theory is a tiny bit stronger.
And just as importantly as all that, as I’ve conquered some of the basics I’ve become more able to relax and just enjoy painting, no matter the outcome. This is huge, and may be the most significant spiritual lesson of painting for me. Yes, I will still get frustrated or disappointed when a painting doesn’t work. And there will always be paintings that don’t work (another powerful lesson I’ve learned.) But the journey is where the joy is.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.Thomas Edison
Mistakes are the portals of discovery.James Joyce