A Reckless Moment

Thank God for the reckless moment in painting.  I am in process with a piece.  Although I’m in motion, the painting is feeling forced.  Who am I trying to please here?  What god am I being obedient to?  The one who is too cautious?  The one who wants to be certain that others will approve?  The one who is critical?  The one who demands perfection?

Then, an abandon of sorts enters.  I swipe my brush across the canvas and a whole new direction is created.  It’s a must…to follow that reckless moment.  Once, in such frustration, I took black and white and squiggled lines across the canvas and left the painting overnight.  The next day, emerging from this chaos was the form of a tiger!  I brought her forth and voila, a whole new painting than was originally intended.

tiger.2014.final

That’s where the magic is.  When I become too precious about something in the painting, I try to preserve it and work around it.  But then, something else isn’t working.  The freedom for the piece to become what it truly wants to be is sacrificed to save this portion of the painting.

It’s like in writing, you’ve written a line or a paragraph that you think is absolutely brilliant.  The seasoned writer is going to tell you to toss it!  Yes, toss it because now it has become a block to the real writing that wants to come.  Don’t you hate that!?!?

For some reason, when I’m grappling with this inner unrest, I don’t recognize that this is a stage of the creative process.  I forget this almost every single time.  I want this painting to be finished.  I want to be satisfied.  I want my fellow artists to approve.  I want my audience to like it.  I want to be representational in my painting.  I want…I want…I want…

Then, the surrender once again to what is being asked of me.  Go wild.  Be reckless.  Forget the false gods that you have been trying to appease.  Abandon the old constraints and allow the next steps to unfold.  As has been said, be in the flow.

6 thoughts on “A Reckless Moment

  1. Your reflections echo my own. How many times have I come to canvas “determined” to be loose, only to find the opposite. Letting go is so much softer than determination. Your tiger is an amazing testimony to the power of inner peace.

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  2. Wow, you’ve just described what I was feeling the other day. I had a fleeting thought of just quiting. Luckily I got a good night’s sleep and have no intentions of doing so. I love what you say about the artist’s inner unrest being a stage of the creative process. I’ve been told that art is a series of solving problems but I hadn’t thought about the inner unrest connected to the process. Your painting of the tiger is beautiful. Thank you!

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    1. Dear Diana,
      Thanks for your comment. I think that’s part of the lesson for an artist (for any human being really) to realize that even the inner resistance/unrest is part of the creative process. It seems that once I am truly present to it,–give it recognition–it begins to shift.
      It takes being patient with ourselves while in this process. And, you’re welcome.

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    1. I find that when I stop trying, things can flow. For me, the morning pages is a good way to break free and loosen things up. What helps you to loosen up? Thanks for your comment, Danielle.

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