When Painting doesn’t “Work”

“What do you do when you are in a phase when you dislike everything you paint?” a workshop artist and participant asked me.

Well, I struggle.

I try not to beat myself up, but of course I do.
I try not to quit, but I practice mini-quits and start again.
I try not to lose focus, but I start avoiding my studio.
I try not to lose faith, but I doubt and doubt again.
I try not to judge the uselessness of art, but I judge and criticize.

The important things I have learned:.

Keep painting. Don’t think. Just keep painting.

Acknowledge that I do not have a clear perspective during this funk. I have painted paintings that I hated and put away, only to bring out 6 months later and I’m stunned by the beauty I didn’t see. (See My Jungle)

The struggle is part of learning. I don’t know everything or anything. But I intuit that ultimately there is a reason for it. It will become clear in weeks, months, or years.

I dislike it because I’m seeking something new in painting but I’m not sure what that is yet.

Painting will tell me when it’s ready.

Lotus in Progess

Lotus in Progess