It’s true! An artist is never happy with the finished product of her or his work. All one can expect are ‘moments of enchantment’. Don’t get me wrong. There is a reason why we are drawn back to art-i-tate (I think I just made that up…a blend of art and meditate). The answer is in the word. When immersing oneself in ‘art-i-tating’ you go into a meditative, gently contemplative, very in the present moment way of being. I would say that your vital signs, blood pressure, breathing and heart rate all slow down, along with the speed of your noisy talking thoughts in your head. The hand eye co-ordination in rhythmically producing brushstrokes, sooth and soften the mood created around you. You get lost in the moment of creating. However, when you come through the other side, out of your creative reverie, judgement is waiting. The sharpened critic, both your friend and foe. Foe, because that silent voice can cripple and immobilize you from further artistic expression and friend, because your love of creating is stronger and makes you challenge that voice and rise above it to new heights.
Take this painting I have been immersing myself in for example…
It is now in it’s 6th stage of creation. (You can see an earlier post which describes it’s birthing process.) I had a ‘moment of enchantment’ after stage 1, where I was drawn back to look at it, celebrate the colours and shapes formed. But then I wasn’t satisfied any longer. I continued to paint and the painting went through some ugly teenager stages until the female form appeared. I had another moment of enchantment. It too, did not last.
I now find myself painting over parts of the canvas again, trying to achieve that temporarily illusive ‘thing’. I know I will get there, however in the process, a dance of tension between like and dislike for my painting occurs. This dance draws me back in time and time again. I am really not sure what the finished product will be, but by the time I get there, I will be so consumed by this painting, that I will enthusiastically (and lovingly) hand it over to it’s new owner, lol!
So hence, the title of this post…’a moment of enchantment’. I don’t think an artist ever fully loves and remains in awe of their paintings. Their critical eye will find something lacking or more that could have been done. So often it is best to part ways, once the art has been birthed and groomed. It is completely about the journey involved in creating the piece, not the piece itself (the destination).
I would love to hear other artists take on this. It may be completely different to mine. Perhaps my view may change in time as I develop further as an artist. Who knows? But I am looking forwards to finding out!…and finishing this blasted painting!!