Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back to Studio

It is first day of studio work of this year.
I have finished two paintings at the end of last year, so I can start with new canvas.

It is always makes me happy to start working on new white canvas. It is full of possibilities and ideas.
I have complete freedom of color and composition in front of blank canvas.(Of course!)
Until I finish first layer, I even think I am genius!
However, this happy dream does not last long...
After several layers, I lose such freedom and become tense; I start realize something is wrong in the painting, maybe tone of the colors or composition, but I do not know what to do with it. Full of frustration continues weeks or months.  I start to feel fear if I could ever finish the canvas in front of me. Then I change, paint again, and think, and re-change, re-painting , and re-think.... fall into a bottomless swamp.....

However, experience tells me that I can get out of it soon or later, sometimes with good outcome in which case I feel bliss of being an artist, and sometimes with a sense of futility in which case I resent myself for bad job.
I always judge my work is good or not. This is bad behavior of mine.
One of my mentor artist said to me that artist should not be judgmental on her own work and it is not she who judges the quality of the painting, but others having different views on that paining like audience, critic, or history will establish the value of it. So artist should not worry about if the finished work looks good or bad to herself. Since I hear that, I became to get out of my stress earlier than before. I think that is a good phrase.


  1. 開けましておめでとうございます!I enjoyed reading this post. I have similar feelings when I begin a new woodblock print. I'm excited to start, and the first couple of colors look great, but then there's "the middle." The middle is always very stressful as I see that the colors are out of balance or the elements are not working together. Some works make me happy at the end and some do not, but sometimes people really like work that makes me uncomfortable, and sometimes prints that are my favorites don't seem to appeal to others. I can't stop judging my work, but I also know that my judgment is partial and not necessarily accurate. Like you, I try not to let my difficult feelings stop me from continuing the process.

    I hope you had a good first day in the studio. I'm about to go off and do the same!

  2. I am pleased that you have the same feeling.
    Probably we just need to trust what we generated regardless of the result.