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Frustrated with myself...

I'm feeling very frustrated right now because I have this tendency to work on something and then sabotage it. I'll follow an idea, one which I might have worked on mentally outwith the studio, and by the time I get to the canvas I have a clear purpose. Then I execute it, give or take the usual varieties of unexpected moments, which are good and productive. Then I go away but when I return I look at the piece and feel self doubt. Will people think I haven't thought this through? Will they think it looks poorly executed? Does it look like something else (a head, a face). So I carry out some sort of vandalism on it. I think at the time I'm 'working' on it to improve it. Then I go back again later, I see the photographs I have taken of it previously and I'm furious to discover that it was actually exactly as I had wanted it to be, but I have spoiled it. 

Here is an example. I wanted this to be a background of pure and simple colours, joyfully springing about, not my usual thing at all. I was delighted to use pink and red. This was a moment of pure painterly joy, balancing as you go, making movements with surety. Then the foreground was to be a lurking darkness, a sinister 'being' hovering over the joyfulness of the background. The painting represented to me the world of sight and joy which is now cut off for my right eye. It represents the horror I feel when I close my left eye and look only with my right. If both eyes were affected the same this is what it would be like to see the world at all. That I can still see things of joy with my left eye is so important and precious to me.

But when I went back I doubted my work. I painted first an indigo wash, and then a blood red one over that. The bright true colours are gone, although the pinks and reds are still visible. I was pulled into thinking I had to verify my work against some imagined critic. This makes me think that I need to work more in a tutored environment, where someone can recognise my work as it is in progress. By working in a vacuum where I produce and then sell, I feel rather lost. I have also learned from this though, I am much less likely to trust this horrible tendency to change things when I hear horrible criticisms in my mind. it is probably wrong!. Having confidence while you are working is one of the hardest things of all!

Here is the original painting:

jane francisComment