moving through stuck places (a painting in progress), and hello spring

once in a great while, i paint.

today i’m not sure which feels more worthy of celebration – the fact that i’ve been painting, or the fact that spring is officially here! (well, tomorrow) and today has really felt like it! hooray.

but since this post is about painting, i’ll wish you all a happy spring and get on with what i have to say.

about painting.

i have quite of few of my paintings laying around from over the years, but there’s only a few that i can honestly say i like. most of them feel unfinished to me. too safe. too careful. too… i dunno, blah.

i frequently get stuck in the process, completely bored with my approach. often, i just stop and call it done because i’m sick of working on it and don’t know what else to do.

i have a really hard time getting past that point in painting – of breaking through to the other side, where creativity takes off and thoughts of safety and perfection are abandoned.

the beginning

i started this painting many years ago. i said it was finished (even though i knew bloody well it wasn’t), and then packed it away in storage while my life took a gypsy/nomadic turn.

last year i took it out of storage and hung it on a wall.

the flat, unfinished quality of it was more than i could take. so i decided to start playing with it again.

[it also had that nine-pointed leaf and other Oya-esque qualities… and as some of you know, i’ve been feelin Oya for a while now. so it sorta felt like an omen, like working on this painting would be a nice way to show some love.]

i don’t have a photo of the first draft. it was basically what you see above, minus some color layering. the purple head-scarf is new, and the lips and nose were more pronounced in the original. and, she didn’t have any ears.

i had quite a lot of fun playing with it for a few days… until i got stuck again.
…that ol’ familiar feeling returned – being afraid of “ruining” what i’d already done, but knowing that something drastic and bold needed to happen. the problem is always, what?

so i said fuck it and decided to shake things up.

touchstone - earth

as if by divine intervention, my gorgeous friend Jenafer Joy emailed, offering a special on her online courses. i leapt at the chance.

(if you look closely at the image at the top, you can see that i wrote ‘touchstone’ on the canvas – the name of the course i decided to take.)

to create the background of the painting, she takes you through the elements.

first earth (above), then fire.


it was a bit tricky at first, since i was working on an already dark canvas, rather than a blank white one.

but it forced me to make the process my own.


the next steps were water (above), and air.


i like the water step the most by far. those colors are so vibrant!

and i must remember that it doesn’t really matter. the point is this: i’m painting. and, i’m moving through my stuck places.

the old painting is gone (except the eyes, which are still barely peaking through), and i know that i can always try to bring back whatever lost bits i really love.

i’m having fun seeing what emerges.

and in terms of shaking things up, i think Oya is pleased ;]

do you make visual art? how do you move through your stuck places?



4 thoughts on “moving through stuck places (a painting in progress), and hello spring

  1. Whoohoo! Good for you!
    I’m making concrete stuff right now, right up your alley 😉 I’ll send pics later today when I get it installed in the yard.


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