Monday, July 16, 2012

Plodding in the Painting Process

Everyone comes to their process differently. How an individual weaves their way through the day to come out at the other end with a finished product is as varied as each person's character and ability.

Some of us plod. Some procrastinate. Others push. And some fly. I wish I could fly.

Me? I plod.

Twyla Tharp wrote about her process in her book The Creative Way, that she needs some little thing to start the process, an action that signals her brain to begin the chain of events that lead to working.

Many artists are working alone and not punching a clock. There is no boss who eyes us if we don't show up on time. We are our own boss, and as such, might give ourselves the day off if we should so desire.

It's no surprise that things can quickly fall by the wayside just because we suddenly have the urge to veer off in a direction that has nothing to do with creating our work.

Um, yeah, painting is work. (But don't ask The Mr. if painting is my work. He'll frown and look at me sideways.)

My day always has a plan. The to-do list is ready from the night before, but is tweaked first thing in the morning. Painting is always first on that list.

With morning activities done, the family out, and the house finally in order, it's office time. Emails, updating, uploading, and all things computer related. Then there might be errands. By now it's noon.

Have I headed to the studio to paint by now? No. I'm plodding through the day, trying to avoid resistance mode.

It can be mid-afternoon by the time I get to the item #1 on the list. I'm still looking for that little action that signals it's time to get the ball rolling.

This past week I was determined to push, rather than plod, to paint. I cleared my day as fast as I possibly could. The weather was beautiful, but I knew I had been slacking and decided to bring the painting equipment outside to work in the garden rather than from photos in the studio.

Afternoon Garden ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
18x24 Watercolor, Arches cold press paper
Painting in the garden allowed me to enjoy the summery weather and work at the same time. Working the brush quickly I did my best to lay in all the colors and shapes I wanted before I lost momentum.

Once the work begins it goes well, I'm in the zone, the process of painting is satisfying and the end is agreeable to me.

Still, I'd rather not plod through the process.

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