I have recently been working on the fifth iteration of a painting that has never been to my liking. I would show the progression to you from the first to the last evolution, but I am afraid that I would be embarrassed if I see the first couple tries were much better than the last. It has happened before.
I get into these situations because I have not really done my homework. Just because I have reached a comfort zone in any of the many themes I have explored, does not mean that I will continue to be able to achieve the same emotional involvement I used to have.
Comfort zones involve the ability to do anything, not just painting, with less physical and mental effort. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the quality of the work continues to meet my personal expectations.
We are not talking simply experience levels. Creativity is different. If I intend to continue to paint a theme, I know I must change something. Change could involve my approach, my technique, maybe my canvas size, maybe even changing the medium.
But you all know what happens. By the time the public catches up with you, and trust me that takes a while and lots of pieces of art, boredom has already set in. The series continues in its same way because of many factors including (and quite high on the list), the ability to sell those works or to win awards with them.
I cannot criticize those artists who have to sell their work in order to continue to paint and make a living doing so. I have been there.
The problem – boring repetition, same ole color palettes, even same sizes all leads to worrying that you will never again do anything new and exciting. You remember how great it felt even when you were stumbling around learning how to paint. Then embarking on a newer series and seeing that evolve. Then after many years it seems the excitement well dries up.
People suggest changing media- try oils or go back to watercolor or what about ceramics, clay, 3D and sometimes it works for a little while. Great artists do it. Paul Simon cut Songs of the Capeman, Neil Diamond The Jazz Singer, McCartney an Oratorio.
I created a small 3D shoe series, some black and white paintings, and a few collages using computer parts. I will publish my cartoon series called Equal Time. I am now blogging as well (as you are now reading).
But there is a part of me that feels that there is something else -a painting something else- out there that I am meant to do. The activist in me wants to make a social or environmental statement, but my skin is too thin. So I hold back.
Well, take these thoughts and we can all stick them where the sun don’t shine. However, something positive is bound to happen. I have to make it happen. So l will persist. Stay tuned for how that something might happen.